Research Areas

National, Regional and International Marine and Environmental Law

Focus: To continually review regional and international legal instruments (conventions, protocols, resolutions and guidelines) to identify gaps in Trinidad and Tobago's marine and environmental laws and policies on matters and make recommendations for their updating.

The marine and environmental laws and regulations, as well as the implementing mechanisms of countries similar to Trinidad and Tobago, are also assessed for possible adoption. Based on these assessments, the Programme drafts and recommends amendments, where necessary, to existing Trinidad and Tobago laws and regulations.

The Programme also provides the legal input to the IMA’s multidisciplinary research projects.  The areas covered include fisheries, coastal area development, shipping, pollution and marine scientific research.

The following are some of the more significant international and regional legal instruments which have been reviewed:

  • The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  • The Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Wastes and Other Matters, the London Convention (LC) 1972;
  • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL73/78);
  • The International Convention Relating to the Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969 and Protocol of 1973;
  • Convention for the Protection and Development of the Wider Caribbean Region and its Protocols on Oil, Specially Protected Areas, Wildlife and Land-based Sources and Activities and
  • The Draft Code of Conduct for the Prevention of Pollution from Small Ships in Marinas and Anchorages in the Caribbean Region.

The reviews of these instruments have shown the need for a comprehensive marine policy and an integrated approach for the conservation and sustainable development of Trinidad and Tobago’s marine and environmental resources.


Recommendation of laws, policies and institutional arrangements for the improvement of the marine surveillance capability for protecting Trinidad and Tobago’s marine environment and resources

The objective of this project was to recommend policies, laws, regulations and strategies to enhance Trinidad and Tobago’s surveillance capability to effectively regulate, manage and protect its marine areas and resources.

This is one of a series of sub-projects undertaken by the Legal and Policy Research Programme with the goal of recommending a comprehensive marine policy for Trinidad and Tobago. Other sub-projects of the main project dealt with inter alia:


  • Coastal Area Development;
  • Fisheries;
  • Protection and Management of the Marine Environment;
  • Shipping;
  • Recreation and Tourism; and
  • Marine Scientific Research.


The study looked at the historical development, present state of the marine environment, present laws and regulations, policies and potential for further development.


Component 8 of the Environmental Monitoring of the Gulf of Paria Project: Legal Aspects of the Management of the Gulf of Paria (2003)

The objective of this component was to recommend policies, laws and regulations for the management of the Gulf of Paria and its coastal areas.

The policies, laws, regulations and institutional arrangements of Trinidad and Tobago relating to the many and varied activities in and around the Gulf of Paria were reviewed against the background of the relevant international and regional legal instruments. The information gained from this review was used to recommend policies, laws, regulations, institutional arrangements and strategies for the sustainable management of the Gulf of Paria and so contribute to the formulation of a management plan for the Gulf of Paria.


Component 5 of the Coastal Conservation Project for Trinidad and Tobago: Legal Aspects of Coastal Conservation (2004)

Goal: To recommend policies, laws and regulations relating to coastal development around Trinidad and Tobago.

The international measures for dealing with pollution in general and the international, regional and national measures for dealing with vessel-source pollution and pollution from land-based sources and activities were reviewed.


The impact of the past, present and proposed activities on the already heavily industrialized coastal areas of Trinidad and Tobago, particularly the Point Fortin/La Brea Area was taken into consideration in recommending legal instruments, institutional arrangements and strategies for the conservation of the coastal areas of Trinidad and Tobago.



  1. Brooks, G. 1984. Addendum to the compilation of laws regulating the use of the coastal environment
  2. Glasgow, C. 1983. Compilation of the Laws regulating the use of the coastal environment
  3. Goodridge, J. A. 2004. Coastal Conservation Project of Trinidad and Tobago. Inventory and Monitoring of Wetlands and Seagrass beds of Trinidad and Tobago Phase 1: Preliminary Assessment of the Ecological status of the Godineau Swamp Trinidad. Research Report: Assessment of the Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework for the Management of the Godineau Swamp
  4. Goodridge, J. A. 2003. Environmental Monitoring of the Gulf of Paria- Legal Aspects of the Management of the Gulf of Paria
  5. Goodridge, J. A. 2002. Legal and Institutional Mechanisms for Implementing International Environmental Agreements Relevant to the Management of Chaguaramas Bay
  6. Goodridge, J. A. 1995. Fisheries joint ventures: the Trinidad and Tobago experience. Caribbean Marine Science 4:50-58
  7. Goodridge, J. A. 1995. Jurisdiction over development control in the ocean space of island states and archipelagic states with special reference to Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Marine Studies 4:20-29
  8. Goodridge, J. A. 1983. A Review of International Conventions on the Prevention of Pollution by Substances other than oil, industrial, solid and nuclear or radioactive wastes
  9. Goodridge, J. A. 1983. A Review of International Regulations and the National   legislation of selected countries on the conservation and management of living resources of the sea


Research Staff

Kahlil Hassanali

Research Officer (Policy)  - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ben Maharaj

Research Officer (Socio-Economics)- This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it