The Framework recognizes that marine ecosystems:
- own themselves and have intrinsic value apart from human uses;
- have the right to perform all of their natural functions; and
- have the right to have a voice in decisions that may affect their health, including the right to legally defend themselves for damage caused (through human representation)
This framework allows ocean protection to continue to evolve, to address the worsening health of ocean ecosystems by outlining guidelines for implementation as well as case studies and criteria for balancing rights conflict resolution. Practically, that means decisions which involve or may affect the marine ecosystem recognize its inherent rights, balancing the needs of the ecosystem with that of humans on a level playing field.