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Marine Scientific Research: Its Potential Contribution to Achieving Responsible High Seas Governance

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AbstractThe absence of an internationally agreed definition for marine scientific research (MSR), coupled with the high seas freedom status of ‘scientific research’, raise, inter alia, questions of marine environmental protection on the high seas. The international community finds it particularly difficult to deal with activities on the high seas generally and especially so when these involve high seas freedoms. This difficulty, usually described as one of high seas governance, is manifesting itself in a growing range of contexts, and constitutes one of the principal challenges now facing the LOSC. This article briefly describes the response by the parties to the London Convention 1972 and its 1996 Protocol to a MSR activity proposed to be conducted on the high seas, highlights certain implications of this response for MSR specifically and high seas freedoms generally, and suggests a consequent way forward in addressing the broader high seas governance issues under the LOSC.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology London UK Department of Oceanography, University of Hawai’i at Manoa Honolulu, HI USA, URL:


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