S2: E18: Coastal Law and Surf Break Protection with Jesse Reiblich

For S2: E18, I chat with Jesse Reiblich, professor of marine law and policy at the University of Rhode Island, about surf break protection and his most recently published article, “A Global Review of Legal Protection Mechanisms for the Management of Surf Breaks,” which he co-published in Marine Policy with Dr. Shane Orchard and Mauricio dos Santos.

Jesse Reiblich is an attorney and expert in coastal and marine law and policy. He teaches and researches at the University of Rhode Island in the Marine Affairs Department. Jesse has published on many topics, including coastal access and equity, climate change policy, the public trust doctrine, water law, coastal adaptation, the California Coastal Act, and surf break protection. His upcoming research will focus on environmental justice concerns in the U.S. Territories, coastal access and recreation, and the efficacy of statutory coastal laws.


Article Summary 

Legal protection has become essential for managing the world’s surf breaks much as it has for other marine and coastal protected areas. This paper presents the first systematic review of global developments in this field. We used a keyword literature search and thematic content analysis to characterize legal protection mechanisms that are designed for surf breaks or have been specifically applied to address surf break protection needs. They are currently found in six countries, protect over 500 surf breaks, and include examples of single-location mechanisms (e.g., Malibu in USA, Punta de Lobos in Chile) and national-level protection mechanisms addressing multiple surf breaks (e.g., New Zealand and Peru). Across all examples we identified 63 discrete themes that can be drawn upon to design and communicate protection measures and present these in a typology that highlights contributing ideas.

Thematic analysis identified a major distinction between process and outcome-based requirements. More comprehensive protections can be recognized by attention to a wider range of threat classes and in the detail provided for decision support, with the two ideally working together to identify the minimum assessment requirements for development proposals. Variation in levels of protection is a key topic for consideration as is the process by which locations are identified or qualified for legal protections to apply. There is also a need to evaluate the effectiveness of provisions already in place, carrying with it the need for outcomes-based monitoring which is currently rare.


Artwork by Nacer Ahmadi: IG @nacerfilez

Production by TwistedLogix and Morrisound Studios

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