Almost from the very beginning of this century there was a momentum to establish representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. It is against this backdrop that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) made a commitment to achieve such a goal in the Southern Ocean, advancing its leadership in the international community.
CCAMLR did make breakthroughs in 2009, 2011 and 2016 respectively by establishing two MPAs and developing a general framework. Meanwhile, divergent views have surfaced and maintained on the issues such as the definition of an MPA, the balance between science and precaution, the formulation of a research and monitoring plan (RMP), and the standardized procedures to develop and adopt MPA proposals. The facts that no RMPs are adopted for both established MPAs and no agreed procedures to develop MPA proposals reinforced the concerns repeatedly expressed by some Members of CCAMLR and prevented CCAMLR from moving swiftly in this regard.
On the occasion of 40th anniversary of CCAMLR, it is necessary to revisit the establishment of MPAs in the Southern Ocean with an aim of exploring a common understanding. Given that CM 91-04 is developed to give effect to, inter alia, three elements such as political commitments, Article IX.2.f and g of the Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (the Convention), and ecosystem approach, this paper revisited these elements one by one.