Page 146

because they were too inaccessible (e.g., too deep, too remote, seabed too rocky), but modern technologies have reduced the amount of unfished area (Bohnsack, 1990; Merret and Haedrich, 1997). To develop a practical response to the need for protecting coastal and marine waters, the international community had to resolve issues of governance of marine areas. Beginning in 1958, the Law of the Sea provided a legal framework to address sovereignty and jurisdictional rights of nations to the seabed beyond the customary 3-mile territorial sea. Four conventions were adopted, the Convention on the Continental Shelf, the Convention on the High Seas, the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, and the Convention on Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas.1 This history is summarized in Table 8-1.

These early conventions were followed by other activities that address marine environmental issues, including the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (1971, known as the Ramsar Convention (, and the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), known as the World Heritage Convention ( In 1972, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reviewed the international situation with respect to emerging environmental problems of wide international significance and created the Regional Seas Programme. Action plans were developed with a particular emphasis on protecting living marine resources from pollution and overexploitation through 13 conventions or action plans (, and the first convention entered into force in 1978 for the Mediterranean Sea. In 1983, another regional seas cooperative arrangement, the Caribbean Environment Programme, adopted the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife of the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW). This protocol calls for a regional network of protected areas in the wider Caribbean to maintain and restore ecosystems and ecological processes essential to their functioning. Specific components of the Caribbean ecosystem are targeted for protection, including coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds.

The first conference on marine protected areas was sponsored by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN, now known as the World Conservation Union) in Tokyo in 1975 (IUCN, 1976). The report of that conference called attention to the increasing pressures imposed by man on marine environments and pleaded for the establishment of a well-monitored system of MPAs that were representative of the world's marine ecosystems. Criteria and guidelines for describing and managing marine parks and reserves were outlined and discussed at the Tokyo conference (IUCN, 1976). In 1980, the IUCN, with the World Wildlife Fund and UNEP, published the World Conservation Strategy, which emphasized the importance of marine environments and ecosystems in the overall goal of adopting conservation measures


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement