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Embracing Fluidity: Dynamic Approaches to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Völkerrechtliche Tagesthemen: Spotlight (Folge 24)


Marine protected areas (MPAs) in international waters (i.e. beyond the 12 nautical mile territorial seas) are in virtually all instances static, in the sense that their boundaries and measures are, once adopted, fixed and difficult to adjust. This approach to spatial management sits uncomfortably with the ecological realities of the oceans and their inherent dynamism and fluidity. Although static approaches may be useful for protecting certain ecosystems, they are arguably ineffective for protecting pelagic ecosystems and migratory species. The added pressure of climate change, which causes major disruptions of ecosystems and pole-ward redistributions of marine life, adds further urgency to calls for more dynamic and adaptive approaches to MPA governance. This presentation introduces the concept of dynamic MPAs, and, against the background of ongoing global legal developments, addresses the question to what extent the relevant international legal framework permits and facilitates their establishment.


Bastiaan Klerk
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