Policy ForumOceans

Avoiding Empty Ocean Commitments at Rio+20

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Science  15 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6087, pp. 1383-1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223009

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The principles of sustainable management of marine capture fisheries and the protection of biodiversity are established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its implementing agreement (1). Building on these, Agenda 21, released after the UN “Earth Summit” in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) from the 2002 summit, set quantitative and qualitative targets relating to the marine environment (see the table). Unfortunately, implementation of many of these commitments has been difficult, ineffective, or practically nonexistent.