2023 Summer/Winter School: Marine conservation law and climate change

Date and time: Monday 11 September, 11am-12.30pm CEST



This lecture provides a critical reading of current legal and regulatory efforts to conserve marine biodiversity in a changing climate in England. It considers the extent to which English conservation law is able to deal with the complexities and uncertainties of climate change in an effective and legitimate way. Focussing on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in particular, the lecture discusses how these sites hold important value to study the interaction between biodiversity conservation and climate change. By prohibiting extractive, destructive and depositional uses, they are test sites for understanding the resilience of marine ecosystems. However, they are highly contested. Being strict reserves, they can be perceived as enclosures by sea-users, leading to distributive injustices. The way in which the law and policy have framed HPMAs is analysed to understand whether these frames enable the development of effective and legitimate conservation measures.  Theoretical reflections on the benefits and challenges of ‘fortress conservation’ initiatives are offered, drawing on environmental law and political ecology scholarship. 


Professor Margherita Pieraccini, University of Bristol Law School.


Pieraccini, M. Regulating the Sea: a socio-legal analysis of English Marine Protected Areas (Cambridge University Press, 2022)