chapter  4
40 Pages

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the regional seas agreements

This chapter will begin by focusing upon the conservation of coral reef ecosystems to the extent that this is encouraged under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea1 (LOSC). It is worth cautioning from the start that the LOSC has a limited role in promoting conservation of these ecosystems, especially regarding protected area strategies and tackling land-based sources of pollution. Instead, as was explained in the preceding chapter, the convention’s main impact for conservation lies in its regulation of the powers of coastal states in their maritime zones. This affects fi sheries and environmental responsibilities, and the regulation of other marine activities. Nevertheless, the regional sea agreements applicable to maritime areas in which coral reefs naturally occur have a more prominent role in promoting conservation, and they are considered in the second half of the chapter. The reasons for considering both the regional agreements and the LOSC together stems from the latter’s advocacy under Article 197 of regional approaches for tackling environmental protection.