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Southern Ocean Fishery Management-Is CCAMLR Addressing the Challenges Posed by a Changing Climate?

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Original languageEnglish
Article number103847
PublishedAug 2020

King's Authors


Climate change is having far reaching effects on the marine environment. Often considered a pristine and isolated region, the Southern Ocean is becoming increasingly more affected by the impacts of climate change. The legal framework governing fisheries and protecting the marine environment of the Southern Ocean is both global and regional. On the global level, most of the waters around Antarctica fall under the high seas regime of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), although seven states have asserted a claim to the territorial sea adjacent to their Antarctic territories under the Antarctic Treaty. On a regional level, the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) manages fisheries. As climate change will inevitably have impacts on the Southern Ocean, it is important to assess how the current legal framework addresses this issue. The recommendations for climate change adaptation given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are threefold: international cooperation, precautionary approach and ecosystem approach. By evaluating the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented in the global and regional legal frameworks, the flexibility and resilience to tackle climate change of the provisions can be assessed. On the global level, specific provisions from UNCLOS and the Fish Stock Agreement (FSA) provide for both the precautionary and ecosystem approaches. Regionally, CCAMLR has shown to be at the forefront in integrating the precautionary and ecosystem approaches in fishery management, providing an example of sustainable adaptation strategies for other Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).

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