Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law
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Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse

This authoritative Handbook examines the current state and the future needs of international law in addressing the key activities that pose threats to the marine environment. Its chapters explore the legal framework for protection of the marine environment, pollution of the marine environment, seabed activities and the marine environment, protection of marine biodiversity, regional approaches to the protection of the marine environment and climate change and the marine environment. Each chapter goes beyond a survey of existing law to identify the shortcomings in the legal regime and areas of critical research needed to address these shortcomings. This book provides significant insights into contemporary issues surrounding the efficacy of the regime created by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and details the further work needed to ensure the design and implementation of effective regulation and management of human activities that affect the marine environment.
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Chapter 11: Protecting marine species

Alexander Proelss and Katherine Houghton


The issue of protecting marine species is a matter that falls within the interface of the international law of the sea and international environmental law. It is thus characterized by the concurrence and overlap of different legal traditions and underlying interests. There has been considerable evolution in the nature of instruments and strategies, but this evolution has been governed in a de-centralized and fragmented manner, and it has been influenced by a plethora of different actors. Improvements in scientific knowledge as well as societal considerations have further increased the complexity of regulation. Different scales and types of protection strategies have emerged, ranging from those addressing individual species and species habitats to those that treat species protection as a component of the broader categories of biodiversity and ecosystem-based management and, finally, to science-driven precautionary measures that proactively regulate potentially adverse impacts on species, habitats, food webs and ecosystems. This chapter examines the complex legal regime for the protection of marine species by focusing on the issue from two angles: First, it examines the approaches taken in the law of the sea. It then turns to an examination of the approaches that have been included in several multilateral environmental agreements. The chapter concludes with some comments on the interrelationship of these two regimes and the need to ensure their complementary interaction.

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