Selection criteria have been widely advocated as a tool to assist in the identification of marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide (e.g. Kelleher, 1999; Roberts et al., 2003; CBD, 2006). The application of selection criteria can assist in evaluating candidate sites, prioritising areas that merit protection, and determining the appropriate design and boundaries for selected areas. While they do not provide definitive answers to questions relating to the location and design of protected areas, criteria can be used alongside other tools to support decision-making. For example, selection criteria might be applied in conjunction with bioregionalisation analysis to support the systematic development of a representative system of MPAs. The effective application of selection criteria depends on the definition of clear objectives to be achieved by a system of MPAs. Different criteria may apply to the selection of different types of marine protected areas (e.g. Antarctic Specially Protected Areas, Antarctic Specially Managed Areas, and other area-based measures including those relating to sustainable fisheries management), designed for the achievement of a range of objectives. This paper considers how existing selection criteria for protected areas, both in the context of the Antarctic Treaty System and in other international systems, might be applied in the identification of candidate marine sites for special protection and management in the Southern Ocean.
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