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Role of the Precautionary Principle


In general terms, biodiversity refers to a variety and variability of life on earth; whereas marine biodiversity shows different species present in the ecosystem. Marine biodiversity tends to be the highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest in all the oceans. It generally tends to cluster in hotspots and it increases through time; however it will be likely to slow in the future. The present research work has been emphasizing on all the principles that can be applied for the purpose of conserving marine biodiversity. Biodiversity is concerned with the number and variety of plants, animals and other organism and they are also the essential component of nature which aids in proper survival of the human species. The richness of biodiversity is dependent on the climatic conditions along with the area of the region.

All species of plants taken together are called as flora and around 300,000 species of plants are known to date; however all species of animals are taken together to consider as fauna which includes birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and molluscs. Rapid changes in the environment causes mass extinctions; hence chief focus is required to be given towards marine conservation. It can be said that marine resources needs protection and preservation of eco-systems in oceans and seas. Thus, chief focus is laid on limiting human – caused damage to marine ecosystem which also restores and preserves vulnerable marine species. Thus, as per the application of principles, discussion has also been made regarding implications of precautionary principle on research, management and legal aspects.

Further, key policy areas are also identified which aids in protecting the marine life. Along with this, different areas are also discussed wherein biodiversity principles are required to be adopted. Moreover, specific challenges are also defined that generally arise at the time of applying principles in the areas of concern. Marine resource conservation is an active response to biological issues like as extinction and marine habitats change. It chiefly relies on a combination of scientific principles that is derived from marine biology, fisheries science as well as oceanography.

Research aim and objectives


The aim of the present research study is to analyse the role of precautionary principle in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.


In order to meet the aim of the research study, focus has been laid on framing different objectives.

  • To identify the principles used in conserving marine biodiversity
  • To ascertain the role of precautionary principle in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity
  • To explore the challenges that arise at the time of conserving marine biodiversity

The above mentioned objectives have been framed with the purpose of ascertaining all the precautionary principles that are developed for the purpose of conserving marine biodiversity. Thus, regarding this researcher has been describing all the associated challenges that usually arise at the time of conserving marine species.

The development of the precautionary principle

The Precautionary Principle was incorporated in the year 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and development which defines different action policy that suspects the risk that can cause harm to the public, environment and in the absence of scientific consensus. Policy makers are responsible to use such principles for the purpose of justifying discretionary decisions in that situations where there is a possibility of harm from a certain decision. This usually when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. As per the principle, there is a social responsibility exist which protect the public from different harms and risks. Along with that, appropriate protection can be taken suitably that also emerges for protecting the public and natural species. In some legal systems and in the law of the European Union, it is essential to apply to precautionary principle as a statutory requirement in a few areas of law.

However, on the other hand regarding international conduct, the first endorsement of the principle was established in the year 1982 when the World Charter for Nature was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; nonetheless the first international implementation was made in the year 1987 through the Montreal Protocol. Afterwards, the principle is then integrated with many other legal binding international treaties like as the Rio Declaration and Kyoto Protocol. However, on the other hand, in economic terms, the Precautionary Principle has been analysed in terms of the effect on rational decision making of the interaction of irreversibility and uncertainty. Thus, it can be said that the Precautionary Principle defines much of the way people begin to respond to the challenges associated with sustainable development especially in the context of the environment.

Further, it also urges a willingness to take action on the ground of society which also generates the need for future development. Central to the application of the Precautionary Principle, it can be said that it is a cost effective approach that leads to social and economic aspects. Under this several policies are being developed to reduce the threat of future climate changes which further leads to radical shifts in travel and energy- use behaviour. The 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development contends that when there are threats of serious irreversible damage, then scientific certainty could not be used as a reason to postpone cost effective measures for preventing environmental degradation. On the other hand, as per the Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle (which is formulated by an international group of scientists, lawyers, government officials and environmental activists), precautionary action includes 4 major parts such as:

  • It is the duty of people to take anticipatory action to reduce the possible opportunities of harm and risks.
  • The burden derived from the proof of harmlessness of a new technology, process activity or use of chemical components lies within its proponents; not in the general public.
  • It also states that prior using a new technology, chemical or a process, people (who have obligation) needs to examine all the alternatives that are present in the procedural values.
  • Decisions that are being applied to the precautionary principle needs to be open, informed and democratic and it must also include affected parties.

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Most of the legal perspective states that environmental policy incorporates precautionary principle which imposes regulatory measures that are based upon the barest potential of environmental harm. Precautionary measures are usually taken at the time when cause and effect relationships are not fully established. However, on the other hand it also includes precautionary measures which is proponent of an activity or new technology that bear the burden of proof to demonstrate the thing that is without risk.

Challenges in implementing the precautionary principle

At the time of implementing the precautionary principle, it is crucial for the ruling bodies to consider all the associated challenges as well. The Precautionary Principle will perhaps stop development or innovation as the burden of proof is on the product and services prior it comes to the market. Thus, along with this, it can also be said that The Precautionary Principle is based on emotion and it is irrational as well which goes towards environmental activities and which do not focuses on chemical aspects. Since, it uses a toxic substance; therefore it could include any such principle that emphasizes on precautionary principle. While applying precautionary measures, it is required to consider if Precautionary measures deals with all the hazards for which the environment degrades on higher extent.

Since, Precautionary Principle was adopted in the Masstricht Treaty of the European Union; therefore it needs to be referenced in numerous international environmental treaties. Further, it could also be incorporated into the operative provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. However, at the same time, adoption of precautionary principle can increase the risks to human health and environment protection through focusing on the risks that is posed by the introduction of new technologies; however at the same time it can also ignore the risks which new technologies could prevent or alleviate.

General implications of the precautionary principle

Precautionary principle has several implications on research study as that could assist the researcher in identifying the areas that are less emphasized on environmental facets and which do not give much consideration towards sustainable development. In terms of implication for the researcher, it can be said that this can assist in enhancing the knowledge about biodiversity and marine conservation and accordingly, diverse actions can be taken suitably. Thus, it is clear that the study would be more interesting and helpful in comprehending the areas that are associated with sustainable development. Biodiversity management is required to undertake several actions and plans that can change the conservation aspects of the environment.

Another implication could be observed in the area of natural development wherein several actions can be taken for the purpose of enhancing the value of environment and ecological balance. Moreover, this could also enhance legal implications in which environment department has to establish a number of legal rules and procedures that increases the value of environment and sustainable development. This is also essential in terms of enhancing the value of ecosystem and environmental balance. Legal policies and framework could also be enhanced at the same time in which several regulations will be required to adhere to meet the changing laws of sustainable development.

Chapter 1

Precaution in biodiversity- related law and policy

Multi-lateral agreements (CBD, UNCLOS and MARPOL)

Multi- lateral agreements are binding agreement among countries and sometimes it also builds agreement between regional groups of countries (especially among European Union). Countries as well as regions who are the member of the international agreements are known as “parties”. In this respect, The Convention on Biological Diversity agreement can be applied which came into force in the year 1994; however it became agreed in the year 1992. Currently, it has more than 190 parties. The main aim of The Convention on Biological Diversity is to conserve the biological diversity and also to protect the sustainable use of its components so that fair and equitable sharing of benefits could be made. This is also essential in terms of utilization of genetic resources in optimum manner. There are basically two major articles that are included for biotechnology and biosafety and that needs to be adhered.

Article 8 is about “In situ conservation of biodiversity”

The article contains an obligation which develops and maintains National Biosafety Systems and this is also useful in establishing risks that are associated with living modified organisms. Further, it is also analysed that the article seems to manage and regulate the risks which arises in the form of release of living organism from biotechnology. This has a likely impact on environmental aspects which could also affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. This also considers risks that are concerned with human health and that changes the ways through which harm and environmental risks could be reduced.

Article 19 is about “Handling biotechnology and distribution of its benefits”

The article states that each of the contracting parties needs to take proper measures to participate in biotechnological research activities by those contractual parties which are developed by developing countries. This also provides genetic resources for such research which are feasible according to contracting parties. Further, it is also mentioned that each of the contracting party should adopt practical measures to promote the advance priority access on fair and equitable basis according to contracting parties. This is especially developed by emerging countries so as to benefit biotechnologies that are based upon genetic resources.

The article also instructs the parties to consider the need of a protocol setting that appropriately includes advanced informed agreement in the field of safe transfer. This is also useful in handling any living organism through biotechnology that may have an adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. In the year 1995, The Contractual Parties decided that such a protocol needs to be adhered; hence during that time negotiations started in the year 1996. Afterwards, five years of negotiation, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted and came into force in the year 2003.

International regulations Rio Declaration 1992, Agenda 21

It can be stated that the conference of United Nation on Environment and Development which took place in the year 1992, is considered as one of the most effective meeting which has been ever took place in the history of mankind. The meeting was proposed and carried out with an objective that elements such as social; development, economic and environment should not be treated as separately. Along with this, the meeting was also carried out with a purpose to talk about various issues such as changes in global climate, increasing rate of deforestation, challenges in terms of managing the biological diversity etc. In simpler terms, International regulations Rio Declaration 1992, Agenda 21 can be termed as the action plan or strategy which has been developed by United Nations with an objective to promote and carry out more sustainable development. Here, the number 21 in agenda 21 is used for or denotes 21st century.

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It is an action plan which has been adopted by different organizations and United Nations for carrying out more sustainable development and protecting the environment in the best possible manner. Trade was considered as the major component or as a medium of carrying out the promotion of sustainable development in the world. Along with this, the objective of these International regulations Rio Declaration 1992, Agenda 21 was also of making the trade and environment supportive for each other. It was observed that all the economic activities and practices related to trade were affecting environment in negative terms. Thus, the agenda 21 was developed in order to ensure and encourage economic policies which are integrated with the concept of sustainable development.

In simpler terms, sustainable development can be termed as an approach or process which promotes economic development along with the protection of environment and people living in the society. Furthermore, the approach lays emphasis on the fact that no country should carry out economic development by providing harm to environment or people living in society. Here, global partnership within countries was promoted in order to accelerate sustainable development and deal with other issues related to climate change. International regulations Rio Declaration 1992, Agenda 21 can be termed as the product which has been derived from the Earth Summit.

However, it can be critically argued that International regulations Rio Declaration 1992, Agenda 21 was also affirmed and several modifications has been carried out in the same. The modifications or changes were carried out generally in the meetings of UN which were done after the Rio declarations. Apart from this, Agenda 21 was also focused in combating from issues such as poverty at both international and national level. The UN and other member organizations developed effective strategies for providing people within potential opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood. In addition to this, Agenda 21 also laid emphasis on eliminating the unsustainable patterns which are being used within process such as production and consumption of different goods and services.

Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity (1995)

Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity realizes that biological diversity comprises variability of genes, species and ecosystems (which are world’s most valuable resources) that also aids in sustaining and welfare of all humankind. In this respect, it can be said that The Jakarta Mandate is a global consensus which emphasizes on the importance of marine and coastal biological diversity. It is also regarded as a part of the Ministerial Statement at the COP meeting in Jakarta in the year 1995. This happened during the implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity. The work programme was also adopted by the COP meeting in Bratislava in the year 1998. It is also promoted and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Convention and it has basic six principles such as:

  • The ecosystem approach
  • The precautionary principle
  • The importance of science
  • Proper utilization should be made under the roaster of experts
  • Suitable involvement of local and indigenous communities
  • Proper involvement of three levels (national, regional and global level) for the purpose of implementing programme.

The pressure on coastal and marine environments was highlighted in the comprehensive Global Biodiversity assessment which is also commissioned by UNEP (that is funded by the Global Environment facility) and is presented to the COP meeting in Jakarta in the year 1995. This has been imitated as ministers reaffirmed that there is a critical need for the COP to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biological diversity. This also develops urge to the parties to initiate immediate actions to implement the decision that are adopted on this issue. It also has integration with marine and coastal area management that changes the scenario of marine biodiversity wherein different species live together.

Several additions are also there regarding Marine and coastal protected areas along with Alien species and genotypes. In addition to this, general element was also identified that encompasses the coordinating role of the secretariat which collaborates the effective use of experts. Thus, it can be said that Jakarta Mandate states the importance of marine and coastal biological diversity which forms new possible areas of the sea. This also aids in reflecting the diversity of life in this blue planet. Further, it also demonstrates that there is still a big lack of knowledge of the ocean and the scope of its life. Currently, it shows an estimation of around 1.7 million species among which a few are still unknown.

Domestic regulations

During the past decade, a number of international conventions have included new obligations which shows the need for management activities that regulates uses of the oceans. This includes legal interventions like UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Sticks and the FAQ Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Regarding this international agreements, national legislation and policies have been put in place to incorporate ecosystem considerations within national ocean management regimes. This has also stated about the convention for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The main objective of WCPT Convention is to ensure the long term and effective conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks in the western and central Pacific in accordance with UNCLOS and UNFSA.

Regarding this, it is also crucial to emphasize on convention on conservation of nature in the south pacific which aims to conserve, utilize and developed the natural resources of the South Pacific region. This is done through careful planning and management for the benefit of present and future generations. Along with this, several other policies are also established as a legal strategy for the management of coastal and marine waters along with the Jurisdiction aspects.

Fisheries-The UN Fish Stocks Agreement 1995

The 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement marked a major step forward in the development of a legal regime which emphasizes on long term conservation and sustainable use of straddling along with migratory fish stocks. However, on the other hand, other efforts are needed to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement. This already has a profound impact on fisheries governance at the time when it is entered into force in the year 2001. Further, the 1995 Agreement also builds on the relevant provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the law of the sea. This also addresses problems related to the management of high seas fisheries which is identified in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

According to Agency 21, there are problems of unregulated fishing, over capitalization, excessive fleet size, unreliable database and lack of sufficient cooperation among customers. This is also called for action by States to cooperate in order to address inadequacies in fishing practices.

The agreement also attempts to achieve the objective through by providing a framework for cooperation which helps in conservation and management of those resources. However, on the other hand, one of the most critical issues in managing fishing on the high seas concerns enforcement which is yet another issue that is believed by many countries and which also involves the state sovereignty. Thus, it typically aims to ensure that fishing fleets from members of an RFMO comply with the conservation and management measures which are being adopted. While balancing conservation and economics for fisheries, industry also has a stake in maintaining equilibrium.

Thus, major fishing companies have expensive vessels which support the precautionary principle because they look at longer term and is also based on management rights. Along with this, NAFO has recently closed a total of 18 areas that includes seamounts and coral sponge concentrations to bottom line the fishing industry in the north- West Atlantic areas. This also encounter protocols that have been place into place which also oblige fishing vessels to report incidences of coral and sponges. Apart from this, a number of interim measures have been adopted by SPRFMO which also protects vulnerable underwater ecosystems in the South Pacific.

Biosafety-Cartagena Protocol 2000

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which is established with the purpose of ensuring safe handling, safe transport and proper use of living modified organism. This also results from modern biotechnology which could have adverse effects on biological diversity. This also takes into account risks that are related to human health. It also makes it clear that products from new technologies must be based on precautionary principle. Further, it should also allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits. For instance- it also allows countries to ban imports of genetically modified organisms at the time when there is not sufficient scientific evidence which proves that the product is safe. This also requires exporters to label shipments that contains genetically altered commodities like as corn or cotton.

However, on the other hand, one of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro which typically contains 27 principles to underpin sustainable development. The precautionary principles are essential in order to protect the environment; thus this shall be applied by all the states according to their capabilities. The major elements of precautionary approach are several protocols that contains provisions related to environment development . There includes an article as well which indicates that the objective of the protocol should be according to the precautionary approach that contains in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The governing body of Protocol is also called the conference of the parties to the convention that serves as the meeting of the parties to the Protocol. Thus, it can be said that the main function of this body is to review the implementation of the Protocol and make decisions appropriately according to its effective operation.

General application of the precautionary principle in cases

The Beef- Hormone case

The Beef Hormone Dispute is one of the most intractable agricultural controversies which is also called as a Beef war that happened over the mad cow disease issue. This has also created confusion since these two wars overlapped in time. Thus, in the year 1989, the European Union banned the importation of meat that contained artificial beef growth hormones. Originally, the ban covered six such hormones but then it was amended in 2003 wherein other provisions were also added. As per the rules of WTO, there is permit on such ban; but only in the case where a signatory presents valid scientific evidence that the ban is a health and safety measure.

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In this area, the Appellate Body has clarified that WTO member has the right to choose the level of health protection which is also deemed as appropriate. It is also not obliged to assess risk in a quantities form in order to be able to take measures. The dispute in Hormones arose because of an import ban that is imposed by the EC on the importation of meat and meat products from animals treated with growth- promoting hormones. The dispute was decided under the SPS Agreement which is also designed to elaborate upon the meaning of Article XX (b) of the GATT. Thus, SPS provides the right to take measures to protect human, animal or plant life which are based on scientific principles.

The Nuclear test case

The Southern Blufin Tuna Cases

In the case, the dispute happened between Australia and New Zealand applicants on one side which is concerned regarding the conservation of the population of SBT. This species is significantly over- fished and is also below commonly accepted thresholds for bibliography safe parental biomass. As per the analysis, the tribunal held that the conditions of LOS Convention were met by the application of Australia and New Zealand. In this case, the norm of prima facie jurisdiction is also applied; however on the other hand the tribunal did not raise the issue of the automatic exception of coastal states that have rights over fisheries in their zones. As per the precautionary principle, it was agreed that the core of the principle is best reflected in Rio declaration.

The principle finds its roots in earlier attempts for the purpose of addressing environmental issues in international agreements that are provided for the preventive principle. As per the interpretation of the principle, it can be said that there is no understanding of the meaning of the precautionary among states and other members of the international community. The difference between a hard principle and a soft approach soon became apparent at the time when precautionary principle found important application in relation to the marine environment. Soon is also evolved from a pollution control; device into a fisheries management tool.

Anklagemyndigheden v. Ditlev Bluhme (Danish Bees case)

Chapter 2

The application of the precautionary principle in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity

Fishery management

There exists a direct relationship between the sustainable development of fisheries and their precautionary management. In the year 1988, the 94th Session of the FAO Council agreed that sustainable development is the management and conservation of the natural resource base. This has also led to the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a way which ensures to have attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations. The strategies are also required to ensure a high degree of sustainability in human use of natural renewable resources systems which are not easy to conceive and implement.

There is also an increased recognition that conventional fishery management should be improved and that needs to be accompanied by a growing concern for environmental management. This has been developed as a result of World Conference on Human Environment and Fishery Development and Management. It also states that the poor control of fisheries by fishery management authorities is one of the chief reasons for the present state of fisheries. Thus, it is also identified that in natural ecosystem, the abundance of preys and predators and their variations are controlled and maintained within the compatible limits of ecosystem sustainability.

Thus, in this respect it can be said that the concept of precautionary principle aims to improve conservation of the environment and the resources through reducing the risk of inadvertently damaging them. Further, it also intends to promote an equitable balance among the short term consideration regarding present environmental degradation and overfishing. Thus, it can be said that it has become a reference rule for public actions and policies and this also includes two core principle such as it strengthens the concept of environmental protection which further also aims to promote a prevention proportional to the potential risks. However, the second one is concerned about the eradication of risks. Henceforth, it is clear that the application of precautionary principle in fishing sector came into existence as a reaction in view of the state of resources and lack of efficacy which guarantee the sustainability of the exploitations.

Tropical reefs

Coral reefs are some of the biologically rich and valuable ecosystem on earth which helps in providing foods, job opportunities, income and protection to billions of people all around the world. However, proper actions are required to be taken else coral reefs and the magnificent creatures could arise danger at the time when it appears. They could threatened through an increasing range of impacts such as pollution, invasive species, diseases and it could also change global climate. At the same time, it is also observed that the rapid involvement of these aspects could decline the loss of ancient valuable ecosystem which have significant social, economic and environment consequences all over the world. For instance- in the year 1998, the President of the United States established the Coral Reef Task Force for the purpose of protecting and conserving coral reefs.

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The CRTF is responsible for mapping and monitoring U.S coral reefs which also aids in researching the causes of coral reef degradation. This also includes pollution and over fishing and besides this, it also finds solutions to these problems. Further, it also promotes conservation to suitable use of coral reefs. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) acts as the principle member of CRTF; thus it has the responsibility to conserve coral reef ecosystems. All the efforts are carried out through its Coral reef Conservation Program which works with scientific, private, government and non-governmental organization to achieve the goals of the CRTF. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also uses high resolution satellite imagery and Global Positioning Satellite technologies which has helped in making digital maps of reefs in Puerto Rico.

It also uses satellite technology so as to detect harmful algal blooms which has the capability to smother reefs and apart from this, it also works in monitoring elevated sea surface temperature which further can cause coral bleaching. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration works as a protective measure through which biodiversity can be managed and sustained. It also aids in monitoring reefs using the Coral Reefs Early Warning System which consists of buoys that is deployed at reef sites that measures air temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, sea temperature and tide levels. However, in addition to the above monitoring process, it also assist in conducting research, assessment and restoration projects of coral reefs in marine reserves and among deep- sea coral blanks.

Furthermore, it is also ascertained that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration works to remove tons of marine debris from the North-western Hawaiian Islands and restore damaged reefs. As per the discussion, it can be said that monitoring, research as well as restorations are imperative in terms of safeguarding coral reefs. However, for ultimate protection, legal mechanisms are also required to be followed. In terms of legal aspects, it involves the establishment of marine protected areas because it have added force of law (protected marine enclosure). This is a major part of coral reef system which could also enhance the chances of survival of ecosystem.

Marine reserves

Marine protected areas refers to areas in which human activities which cause reduction in population either directly or indirectly through habitat alteration. This eliminates risks on greater extent. This spatial explicit approach aids in managing human impacts that has many potential ecological and socio-economic benefits. This can alleviate some of the problems that are vital to conventional management practices; hence it could benefit the conventional practices. Precautionary principles have been developed for the purpose of conservation and management as it includes historical pattern of haphazard design, implementation, enforcement and evaluation. This often produces equivocal and contradict evidence for both ecological and evaluation aspects.

For instance – absence of full scientific certainty about marine species are threatened with extinction and this is also at greater risk which is related to marine ecosystem. In this respect, the ruling bodies have established creation of marine protected areas which is one of the instruments that works to safeguard the integrity of ecosystem and of marine biodiversity. While, on the other hand it also aids to protect and restore threatened marine species through the application of precautionary principle. This also works as a management strategy which protects the value of marine life. Complementing an ecosystem’s protection through precautionary principle could threatened species which are also protected by numerous other strategies. Apparently, threatened species covers three categories for extinct and threatened species wherein marine species are at greater risk.

Precautionary principle has been applied in this area of concern as a process to implement MPAs and this also protects threatened species that assesses the risks that are implicit in managing those areas and species. This also involves analysing several factors which creates and manages other areas. It also creates emphasizes on several conventional management practices; thus it could supplant other practices. There are many challenges for the managers to be followed along with conservation scientists and economists. One of the major challenges that manager faces is to foster agreement among the stakeholders regarding the proposed system of MPA. This has also prepared national action plans for species conservation and recovery. Along with this, specific policies are also being formulated to protect and recover species and the licensing of potentially or effectively pollution activities.

Therefore, it can be said that precautionary principle application to biodiversity conservation and marine natural resources acts as a fundamental tool for sustainable development. This also provides guidance for governance and management at the time of responding to risks and uncertainties. Thus, it can be said that along with federal government and high courts, such regulation have been developed under precautionary principle for conserving marine reserves. Because of the open nature of most population and communities of coastal marine species, dispersal of reproductive propagules is vital to implement under marine protection which also assist in enhancing the value of ecosystem. Apart from this, there are many species that have limited dispersal potential. Thus, it is clear that many species have limited dispersal potential which also states that some local population of species with great dispersal can be partially self- replenishing.

Marine coastal protected areas

From general point of view, marine protected areas are known for those areas wherein protective and restorative precautionary measures have been instituted so as to protect and conserve species, habitats, ecosystems and ecological processes of the marine environment. In this context, OSPAR Ministers agreed to promote the establishment of a network of marine protected areas which also follows a period of preparatory work. This is typically established for the purpose of developing an ecologically coherent network of MPAs in the North-East Atlantic that is well managed by OSPAR network. This has been established for the purpose of protecting, conserving and restoring species, habitats and ecological processes which could adversely be affected by human activities.

This also aids in preventing degradation and damage of species, habits and ecological processes through following precautionary principle. This also protects and conserves areas that represents wide range of species, habitats and ecological processes in the maritime areas. The progress has been made by Constricting Parties which also identifies, selects and establishes MPAs as major components of the OSPAR network. This is summarised in the latest progress report on the network and it also includes a map that describes the network. There are several legislation developed by the governmental bodies which also aims to follow Precautionary Principle and this only began to appear in international legal instruments in the mid-1980s. It also states that the principle aims to provide guidance in the development and application of international environmental law, where there is scientific uncertainty. It is also reflected in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration which also indicates that when threats of serious irreversible damage appear, it could be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures for the purpose of preventing environmental degradation.

The standards are also useful in suggesting that proper actions needs to be taken in scientific evidence so that it could significantly protect environmental damage. In this domain, the precautionary approach has been applied as this relies on the relation which includes the measures to protect a range of other environmental media especially regarding marine environment. Thus, it also states that prior implementing any plans, proof of harmful effects should be considered. This also introduced the idea that precautionary action could be justified on the basis of economic grounds. Further, it could also be said that for the purpose of achieving sustainable development, policies must be based on the precautionary principle; however environmental measures must also anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation.

In this line, OSPAR Convention also shows a direct link between prevention and precaution and it also requires preventive measures that are to be taken where there are reasonable grounds for concern. This appears even when there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the inputs and the effects. This also needs to be applied by the 1992 Baltic Sea Convention that introduces yet another variation and which also requires preventive measures. This also includes a reason which assumes that it might harm and cause the environment. Nevertheless, there is also a need to set criteria which identifies threshold that includes scientific evidence that is available about a potential risk, seriousness of the probable consequences. It also has an integration with The Fish Stocks Agreement that is required to be applied under precautionary approach to fishing and to protection of association ecosystems and species. In this context, it could be said that a precautionary approach to fishing should be implicitly applied which entails to set out the details mentioned under Agreement 1995.


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