Legal Aspects of Ecosystem-Based Marine Management in Europe
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Ronan Long (2012) 'Legal Aspects of Ecosystem-Based Marine Management in Europe' In: A. Chircop, M. L. McConnell, S. Coffen-Smou(Eds.). Ocean Yearbook. The Hague : Hijhoff.
The European Union is currently developing an elaborate regulatory framework for the implementation of an ecosystems-based approach to the management of human activities in the marine environment with a view to halting the loss of biodiversity and to conserving functioning ecosystems. This paper explains how this development has its normative basis in a number of international, regional and European legal instruments including: the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity; the European Regional Seas Conventions; the European Treaties; the Marine Strategy Framework Directive; the Habitats and Birds Directives; the common fisheries policy; the European integrated maritime policy; as well as in several soft law initiatives concerning marine spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management. This paper describes how EU law is evolving rapidly and placing new demands on national data collection and marine environmental monitoring programmes, as well as on the institutional structures in the Member States that are responsible for offshore licensing and planning. The paper concludes by briefly mentioning some of the obstacles that may impede the implementation of this relatively new management concept by the European Member States