The future of high seas marine protected areas



Publication Details

L. L Nordtvedt. Reeve, A. Rulska-Domino and K. M. Gjerde, 'The future of high seas marine protected areas' (2012) 26 Ocean Yearbook 265-289.

Additional Publication Information

ISSN: 0191-8575


Adoption of a global legal instrument is an essential step toward resolving the international governance gap that currently exists with regard to the protection of marine areas in the high seas and deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction. Such an agreement could establish a mechanism for approving or endorsing marine protected areas (MPAs) and for allocating management responsibilities. To address broad-scale conservation objectives, this instrument could also provide for integrated ecosystem-based management grounded in the precautionary approach, guided by goals, principles, and objectives supported by all Parties, and applied by all regional and sectoral organizations. It could set forth a structure and process for implementing marine spatial planning and cross-sectoral management, as well as cooperative surveillance, monitoring, and enforcement. Absent such an agreement, the prospect for the high seas is bleak, as present piecemeal regional and ad-hoc approaches are insufficient to sustain global ocean health or to safeguard vital services that benefit all humankind.

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