Law for the Sea's Biological Diversity

59 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2008 Last revised: 15 Nov 2015


This article addresses some of the complex legal issues raised by the sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and the deficiencies in its existing legal protection. The importance ofsuch an undertaking was emphasised by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in its first meeting (COP I), through its selection of marine and coastal biological diversity as the first major ecosystem theme to be addressed as part of its medium-term programme of work. Realistically, effective conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas solely or partially outside of national jurisdiction will require the further "cooperation" of all states. There are a number of alternative ways forward each with its advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the alternative selected, a number of common and familiar legal issues will have to be faced and there are risks. Politically, it will be essentially to avoid the intractable problems that arose in connection with the negotiation of the normative regime intended to regulate the exploitation of mineral resources in the LOS Convention. Unworkable law is little better than no law.

Keywords: International Law, Law of the Sea, Biological Diversity

JEL Classification: K33, K32

Suggested Citation

Anton, Donald K., Law for the Sea's Biological Diversity. Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 36, 1997, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 08-12, Available at SSRN:

Donald K. Anton (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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