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Marine biological resources: Some reflections on concepts for the protection and sustainable use of biological resources in the deep sea

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For more content, see International Community Law Review.

Marine biological resources in general and biological resources of the deep sea and the deep seabed in particular are threatened by a variety of human activities. Those activities considered marine scientific research and related activities such as scientific sampling and bioprospecting can pose a threat to the conservation of these biological resources if performed in an unrestricted manner. Whether legal rules on marine scientific research should be applicable to highly commercial activities such as bioprospecting is doubtful. The current legal regulations provided by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on Biological Diversity are not designed to provide for an adequate regime on the protection of biological resources in areas located outside national sovereignty. As a result, a new treaty on the protection and sustainable use of marine biological resources located outside national jurisdiction is necessary and must focus upon a common heritage approach. An institutional framework for such a regime can either be newly established together with an agreement or be established by an existing institution e.g. the International Seabed Authority.

Affiliations: 1: Heidelberg University Law School, Germany


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