Ocean management principles:

Principles for managing the impact of human activities on the ocean.  
This page contains extracts from international and Australian agreements and related instruments, as well as some important  industry and academic papers.  International instruments of a general nature (such as the UN Charter) are included as these texts are often referenced by later instruments. 


The definition, development and use of environmental principles  
html, Jon Nevill 2002

Discussion of ocean management principles  
- including a summary of good governance principles: Jon Nevill 2004

The precautionary principle in Australian ocean management:  Jon Nevill 2004 

Marine no-take areas and networks: principles of design Working draft: comment invited. Jon Nevill 2004


Extracts are listed in chronological order.

Charter of the United Nations 1945

Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal 1950

Antarctic Treaty 1959

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969

Principles of International Law: Friendly Relations (UNGA Resolution 2625) 1970

Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972 does not contain a statement of guiding principles.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979

Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources 1980

Law of the Sea Convention 1982

World Charter for Nature 1982

Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty 1991

Rio Declaration (UN Summit on Environment and Development, Rio) 1992

Agenda 21 (Rio Summit) Chapter 17 1992

Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992

Australia: National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development 1992

Australia: InterGovernmental Agreement on the Environment 1992 (whole document)

Ludwig, Hilborn and Walters.  Uncertainty, resource exploitation, and conservation: lessons from historyScience 260(2):17.  April 1993. 

Marine Mammal Commission: Principles Workshop March 1994

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries 1995

United Nations Agreement Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks 1995

Coastal Policy (Australian Government) 1995

New Zealand's Fisheries Act 1996

WCED Experts Group on Environmental Law 1996.

Lisbon Principles 1997; see also 
Costanza et al. (Science) 1998: Principles for sustainable governance of the oceans 

The South African Government's "Policy on the conservation and sustainable use of South Africa's biological diversity" 1998 sets out 15 "guiding principles"; link to come

Australia's Oceans Policy 1998
NOTE: the core principles of the Oceans Policy should be read in conjunction with the policy guidelines contained in Appendix 1 of the Policy.

Australian Seafood Industry Council: extract from ASIC Code of Conduct 1998

Australian Government: Strategic Plan of Action for the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas 1999.

Australian Government: Sustainable Fisheries Management Guidelines (draft) 1999
Australian Government: Sustainable Fisheries Management Guidelines (final)
Paper comparing the draft and final Guidelines (Jon Nevill 2004)..

Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific 2000

Convention on Biological Diversity: Conference of the Parties decision V/6 (2000) lists 12 'principles of the ecosystem approach'.  In my opinion these are both weakly stated and incomplete - for example the need for precaution is not mentioned.

The law of sustainable development: general principles. A report produced for the European Commission. Michael Decleris 2000. Environment Directorate-General; Luxembourg.

Earth Charter website   Earth Charter (in English)
(developed 2000, put to Johannesburg 2002, not yet endorsed by UN GA)

Australian Government Policy on Fisheries Bycatch 2000
National Bycatch Policy (under development 2004)

Australian IUCN reserve management principles:
Schedule 8 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Regulations 2000.

Albatross Agreement 2001

Marine Stewardship Council (London) 2001

Reykjavik Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem  2001 Note: while the FAO-sponsored Declaration does not contain a statement of principles, it is reproduced in full here due to it's importance and stature.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2002
Operational principles: selection of marine protected areas 
(for a detailed review of these principles see Stewart, R (2002).

Rome Principles (FAO) 2003

Addis Ababa Principles for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity 2004

Massachusetts ocean resource management principles 2004

Bill Ballantine's MPA principles (senior scientist, New Zealand) 2004

Ecosystem-based fishery management 2004 Pikitch et al. Science 305:346-347. 

New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries 2005 - environmental effects of fishing

Precautionary Principle Project Guidelines 2005

Canadian Marine Protected Areas Strategy 2005

Naiman & Latterell 2005: Principles for linking fish habitat to fisheries management and conservation. Journal of Fish Biology (2005) 67 Supplement B 166-185.

IUCN Principles for high seas governance 2008




Australian readers are referred to the Commonwealth Government's legislation website for the full text of all international agreements signed by Australia.  Agreements are also listed at the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Author: Jon Nevill. Please email jonathan.nevill@gmail.com  if you would like to see other sets of principles listed on this page.