Martin Tsamenyi AM

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Professor Amanda Lawson Executive Dean of the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Ben Martin Tsamenyi as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 2 November 2016

Chancellor, I present Martin Tsamenyi.

The relationship between human kind and the sea is at the core of Martin Tsamenyi’s life work. This is a contrary area where there is need for careful balancing of environmental protection, economic prosperity, maritime security and healthy lives sustained by fisheries resources. Professor Tsamenyi has sought to understand and craft this balance, in ways that respect the environment, assures peace and sustains populations.

An internationally respected academic lawyer and expert, Martin holds qualifications in law and international law from the University of Ghana and the Australian National University. His career and achievements have been truly global in scope. Beginning as a lecturer in Papua New Guinea, he moved on to the University of Tasmania where he became Dean of Law before arriving here at the University of Wollongong as Professor of Law in 1993. He has taught countless students and his research and expert advice have had an impact across Asia and the South Pacific. He has been the key legal adviser to both the Forum Fisheries Agency of the South Pacific and to the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Martin Tsamenyi is, without doubt, the most sought-after legal expert on fisheries matters in this region of the world.

His integrity and the quality of his advice to many regional governments earned such respect and trust that, after Australia’s intervention in Timor Leste in 1999, all defence cooperation programs with Indonesia ceased, with one exception. The program run by Martin for the Indonesian Naval Staff College continued, and remains as the longest-running of its kind between the two countries.

As proof of his reputation even beyond the Asia-Pacific, Martin has been elected to Chair the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas as it stands at the crossroads, in terms of whether it can change direction and adopt a more sustainable course. He has also been asked to chair an expert consultation for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and he was appointed by the UN’s Secretary-General to the Advisory Group of Experts to draft the “Oceans Compact” for the Rio+20 Conference.

The University of Wollongong is proud to have had Martin Tsamenyi as one of its academic leaders for almost a quarter of a century. With his guidance and the benefit of his international reputation, the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at UOW has grown from a very small base to become the largest ocean law and policy research institute in the world, having significant influence on the development of marine law and policy in Australia, the region and beyond.

Under its clever acronym, ANCORS, the Centre is about to graduate its 50th Higher Degree Research student. Martin has himself mentored nearly 40 academics, some of whom are still at ANCORS and others at international universities. He has an enviable publications record which includes seven books as well as book chapters, refereed journal articles, many conference papers and presentations. He has also enjoyed tremendous success with the Australian Research Council and numerous other research grant schemes within Australia and overseas.

Martin Tsamenyi was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 ‘for service to maritime and fisheries law in the Asia-Pacific region, through the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, and to legal education.’ Today, the University is privileged to add its own accolade for an outstanding researcher, academic and global authority in his field. Martin’s influence on marine policy and affairs will be an enduring legacy, not only through his own outstanding contributions but through the work of those he has taught, mentored and inspired.

Chancellor, for his exceptional service and dedication to this University and his distinguished contribution to maritime and fisheries law in the Asia-Pacific region, it is a pleasure and a privilege to present Ben Martin Tsamenyi for admission as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.