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The New Paradox in Marine Scientific Research: Regulating the Potential Environmental Impacts of Conducting Ocean Science

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Concerns about the negative effects of marine scientific research are in clear juxtaposition to the beneficial role that scientific knowledge plays in enhancing the understanding of the oceans and protecting the marine environment. This presents a regulatory paradox that is examined in this article in light of the legal framework in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The article traces how these general principles in the Convention are elaborated in soft law instruments for the promotion of environmentally sustainable research practices. It also looks at an example of state practice in this area by examining regulatory measures instituted in the Canadian Endeavour Hydrothermal Vent Marine Protected Area.

Keywords: freedom of scientific research; marine environment; marine scientific research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Bremen International Graduate School for Marine Sciences (GLOMAR), Bremen, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2011


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