San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



Ocean pollution is a problem that the nations of the world can no longer ignore. Industrialized nations have treated the oceans as if they were beyond the power of men to alter, an infinite sink for the assimilation of wastes. The oceans cover 70% of the earth's surface and contain 350 million cubic miles of water: However, there is a world population of 3.5 billion people or 10 people for every cubic mile of seawater. as the world becomes more industrialized, man's increasing capacity to contaminate is a very real threat to the ocean. Man is totally dependent upon natural processes developed over geologic times. The system is closed, everything counts, and the balance is delicate. Modifications of the environment are inevitable and not entirely undesirable, but there are limits beyond which man cannot act with impunity. The oceans and their inhabitants form a critical part of the system. About 70% of the earth's oxygen, a necessity for man's survival, is produced by ocean phytoplankton. Approximately 55 million metric tons of fish and other seafood are brought in annually by the world's fishermen. This represents about one-tenth of the total world supply of animal protein and, to some nations, an indispensable source of such protein.