Professor of Law, Emerita
B.S., Cornell University
J.D. cum laude, The George Washington University
LL.M., Yale Law School
Office Phone: (808) 956-8467
Professor Alison Rieser, an expert in ocean and coastal law, is an Emeritus Professor at Maine Law. She is currently serving as the Dai Ho Chun Di Distinguished Chair at the University of Hawai'i at Mânoa, with a joint appointment in the departments of economics and geography.
Before joining the Maine Law School faculty, Professor Reiser spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow in marine policy and ocean management at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She became a full professor at Maine Law in 1993. She directed the Marine Law Institute from 1983 until 2001, and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law in 2000-2001. At Maine Law, Professor Rieser taught a range of courses in the area of ocean and coastal law, natural resources, environmental law , and legislation.
Her research interests include the use of property and rights-based concepts in ocean and coastal management, ecosystem approaches to the governance of marine fisheries, and the role of science in national and international marine legal regimes. She is a consultant to state and federal agencies and NGOs and an active participant in national and international discussions of marine policy. She has written and lectured extensively and is co-author of the leading casebook in ocean and coastal law. Professor Reiser organized a symposium and presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science in February 2004, entitled "Tough Decisions: Dealing with Scientific Uncertainty in the Management of Marine Fisheries." In April 2004, she presented a paper considering the compatibility of rights-based regimes with an ecosystems approach to fisheries at the University of Washington's Bevan Symposium on Sustainable Fisheries and gave a talk on this subject to the Marine Fish Conservation Network in Washington, D.C. later in the Spring. She helped organize a conference co-sponsored by the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal and The Ocean Conservancy at the Law School. The conference considered the recently-released report of the U.S. Oceans Commission and the governance of the Gulf of Maine. She was a guest lecturer at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California in June 2004 where she gave a public seminar and a class in marine conservation law. She served on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Committee to Review Individual Fishing Quotas and co-authored its report, Sharing the Fish: Toward a National Policy on Individual Fishing Quotas (1999). In 1999, she was selected as a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, the first and only law professor ever to receive this honor.
Professor Rieser used her Pew Fellowship to produce a monograph examining the meaning and role of the legal standard for the use of science in marine fisheries and conservation instruments, the requirement that decisions be based on the "best available scientific information." She examines the standard and its interpretation by managers, scientists, and stakeholders through case studies of controversial decisions and their contested scientific bases, including the dolphin-safe tuna labeling decision, the Alaska pollock-Steller sea lion case, and several sustainable fisheries conflicts. She presented these case studies in a series of papers at scientific meetings and to graduate students in marine sciences during her fellowship.