Integrated Oceans Management of Antarctic Waters: Opportunities for Marine Protected Areas in the Convergence of the Antarctic Legal Regime and the Law of the Sea
Antarctica is home to some of the last untouched places on Earth, but its marine environment is endangered because of increased ocean activities in Antarctic waters. These developments are not unique to the Antarctic seas but are a global trend in all the world’s oceans. Legal responses to the threats to marine health have induced a shift in ocean governance from traditional fragmentary approaches to more holistic ways of managing the seas. Contemporary approaches stress principles of integrated ocean management: an approach that seeks to manage human activities across sectors and time, by considering the fluid nature of water and the transboundary as well as cumulative effects of human impacts on the oceans. The Antarctic legal system has been a leader in these contemporary developments and has, inter alia, introduced Antarctic marine protected areas legally protected from human interference. Such area-based protection is based on the ecosystem approach and aims to protect the marine environment by drawing legal boundaries adapted to marine ecosystems and marine life. Marine protected areas are increasingly incorporated in international agreements, but their implementation in areas beyond national jurisdiction has not been free from controversy. Global challenges regarding the regulation of international waters, the absence of a clear legal mandate to establish marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction, together with the regional challenges of the Antarctic such as the legal processes of designating Antarctic marine protected areas and cooperation for the management of cross-sectorial activities in Antarctic waters, the reach and scope of the Antarctic legal regime, and the intersection of the law of the sea, are all aspects that affect the opportunities of establishing Antarctic marine protected areas. This thesis examines the convergence of the two major legal regimes governing Antarctic waters and shows that the implementation of marine protected areas based on principles of integrated oceans management, though challenging, is a feasible task.
Integrated Ocean Management
Marine Protected Areas
Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction
The Antarctic Treaty System
The Law of the Sea