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During the 1950s and early 1960s, as coastal and marine ecosystems became increasingly degraded by human activities and heavily exploited by fishing, the calls for management and protection of the marine environments and resources became more stressing. The iinternational community started to develop a response to the need for effective conservation and management of coastal and marine systems. National and global policies were developed around concepts of integrated marine resources and environmental management, and were fostered by several international initiatives, including the United Naitons Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. (United Nations 1972), the protracted negotiations leading to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS; United Nations 1982) and the creation of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme in 1972.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been considered and promoted as an important and interactive tool to achieve effective ocean conservation when nested in a broader framework of integrated management.