Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Ocean Yearbook, Volume 18. Chicago, IL: The Universtiy of Chicago Press, 2004.


Rapid developments in marine biotechnology and the prospect of sea-bed mining have exposed the inadequacy of legal frameworks to regulation the exploration exploitation, and sharing of the benefits that arise from such marine endeavors. The fact of the matter is that despite the giant strides made in and the huge financial stakes involved in bioprospecting of hydro-thermal vent ecosystems, legal issues raised by profitable biotechnology development through marine scientific research (MSR) are still at an infant and underdeveloped stage. This article evaluates the extent to which the present legal order for the mining of seabed polymetallic nodules with its tangential reference to hydrothermal vent ecosystems succeeds in incorporating precautionary principles. In addition, the article queries the continued wisdom in severing the regulation of seabed mining of plymetallic nodules from the nonreguation omission of the latter from the regulatory framework of the ISA is perhaps a reflection of the limited jurisdiction conferred on the ISA by the relevant legal instruments governing the oceans. The unfortunate situation today is that there is no existing legal order, sketchy or otherwise, regulating bioprospecting of hydrothermal vent ecosystems.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.