Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the most comprehensive and prevalent tools to manage the oceans. The conceptual basis of MPAs is to zone ocean space for various purposes and manage the areas using regulations that provide a balance between conservation of the marine ecology and human activities. Numerous MPAs have been designated in every ocean region of the world. However, MPAs may result in justice concerns for different groups of marine users. Marine-related economic activities and job opportunities may be reduced due to restrictions on marine resource use and access under MPA regulations. The protection of the marine environment and its resources is important, but the rights and interests of marine users also need to be considered.

This thesis argues that incorporating the concept of environmental justice into the design of MPAs can address justice concerns. It evaluates the discourse of justice in public affairs and environmental justice scholarship which is widely adopted in landbased environmental laws and policies, and examines its application in marine areas. The purpose is to critically analyse the application of an environmental justice approach to the design of MPAs to minimise the prospect of unfair outcomes in marine management. It examines the justice literature and the scholarship of MPAs, and conducts case studies. It presents a framework of MPA-based environmental justice which comprises the concept and principles of environmental justice in the context of MPAs. The framework serves as an analytical approach to assess the degree of environmental justice in current MPAs and can be transferred to a combination of process and management measures for establishing an environmental justice-based MPA.

FoR codes (2008)

180116 International Law (excl. International Trade Law), 180111 Environmental and Natural Resources Law, 160507 Environment Policy



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.