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The Purpose Of UNCLOS And The Marine Environment

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In order to combat inconsistent claims to the sea, spreading pollution, competing demands for living marine organisms, tension between nations for resources, and the increasing push for seabed mineral extraction, UNCLOS was created (United Nations 2013). The primary purpose of UNCLOS is to support the efficient use of marine resources, the conservation of living resources, and the protection/preservation of the marine environment (Wang 2004). One of the main benefits of UNCLOS is that it increases the ability for coastal nations to be able to create their own marine protected areas (MPAs) (Craig 2005). In general, MPAs are considered to be the most effective way to preserve and increase marine biodiversity and create sustainable fisheries (Craig 2005; Metcalfe et al. 2013). Even though it has been proven that they are extremely beneficial, only 1.17% of the ocean’s surface is considered to belong to a MPA. In comparison, about 12.7% of the terrestrial environment is considered to belong to a protected region, even though we impact the terrestrial environment less detrimentally than the marine environment (Metcalfe et al. 2013). In order to determine what resources of the marine environment belong to what coastal nation, UNCLOS classifies marine regions into four categories (Craig 2005; Doukakis et al. 2009). The four categories include (1) territorial waters, (2) the contiguous zone, (3) the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and (4) the high seas. Territorial waters
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