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Zonal and Integrated Management Approaches to Ocean Governance: Reflections on a Dual Approach in International Law of the Sea

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Traditionally, international law of the sea has been based on the zonal approach. The traditional approach purports in essence to divide the ocean into several jurisdictional spaces on the basis of two opposing principles, namely, the principle of sovereignty and the principle of freedom. It is now apparent, however, that the traditional zonal approach is insufficient to resolve the problems encountered in the management of ocean space. Hence, the need for a new integrated management approach is increasingly emphasised in international instruments as well as in the opinions of writers. Nevertheless, it appears that the concept of the integrated management approach remains obscure in international law. Thus, this study purports to examine this concept at three levels: the ecological, normative and implementation levels. Finally, on the basis of these considerations, this study will present a perspective that the international law of the sea should be considered as a dialectic legal system between the zonal approach and the integrated management approach.


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