University Of Tasmania
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Consensus decision-making in CCAMLR: Achilles’ heel or fundamental to its success?

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:21 authored by Lynda GoldsworthyLynda Goldsworthy
The Commission for the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is the body responsible for the conservation and management of most species in the Southern Ocean. The Convention mandates that decisions be made by consensus agreement of its Members. This approach has been largely successful in delivering strong management decisions across both complex issues and widely ranging national interests. However, recent failures to progress the implementation of a network of marine protected areas or to agree any concrete response actions to climate impacts raise concerns about its effectiveness. This paper reviews the level of uptake of Member-driven proposals and then examines examples of proposals that were not resolved within the usual three years to analyse the processes utilised by Members to find resolution. It concludes that CCAMLR has been successful in reaching agreements when focusing on fisheries management but less so on issues within its broader conservation mandate, such as area protection for biodiversity purposes or non-fishery management focused scientific study, or for issues that are perceived to extend the competency of the Convention. It notes that CCAMLR lacks operational mechanisms to facilitate agreement in the absence of compromise text or when one or two Members cannot accept a proposal.


Publication title

International Environmental Agreements








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Springer Netherlands

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments not elsewhere classified

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