Marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine spatial planning (MSP) are two distinctive albeit complementary area-based management tools (ABMTs) that are essential for the protection and preservation of the marine environment. These tools should be implemented through legally binding regimes that ensure coordinated measures based on an ecosystem approach. Yet, the predominant approach remains profoundly sectoral. Moreover, in addition to the applicable legal regime being fragmented, there is no universal recognition of a legally-binding principle of an ecosystem approach, which has inevitably hindered the efficacy of MPAs and MSP with respect to the protection and preservation of the marine environment. This chapter will make a brief overview of MSP and MPAs and provide an assessment of the use of these two ABMTs against the background of existing legal rules.
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