Sustainable Management of High Seas Marine Resources: Scoping Note
9 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017
Date Written: July 2016
Sustainable development goal 14 is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” This scoping note focuses on just the natural resources of the ocean’s high seas area, that is, areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), which constitute more than half of the world ocean and the world’s largest ecosystem. International law governing natural resources in areas within national jurisdiction—ocean waters landward of 200 nm (or 12 nm for states that have not claimed an Extended Economic Zone) and the seafloor landward of continental shelf boundaries, where they have been claimed—is extensive, and only partially overlaps this topic. High seas marine resources include fisheries, one of the most ancient subjects of international law, and marine genetic resources, one of the most novel. These and other vital ocean natural resources and ecosystem services exist within areas of national control and areas beyond national jurisdiction, with important transboundary effects and commons considerations. Although the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Part XII, was intended to provide a framework for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, there is divergence between the law of the sea and international marine environmental law principles. Initiatives are under way to fill gaps in the legal regime for ocean ABNJ. This note provides an overview of the value, threats and status of the ocean; a survey of the international legal terrain; state practice; and future directions.
Keywords: law of the sea, oceans, sustainable development
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