IntroductionThe of the sea is a body of public internationallaw governing the geographic jurisdictions of coastalStates and the rights and duties among States in theuse and conservation of the environment and itsnatural resources. The is commonlyassociated with an international treaty, the Conventionon the Law of the Sea (), negotiatedunder the auspices of the United Nations, which wassigned in 1982 by 117 States and entered into force inAt present 133 States have signed and ratifiedUNCLOS; Canada, , , USA, and Venezuelaare the most prominent among those that havenot ratified. This treaty both codified customaryinternational law and established new law and institutionsfor the ocean. UNCLOS is best understood asa framework providing a basic foundation for theinternational law of the oceans intended to be extendedand elaborated upon through more specificinternational agreements and the evolving customs ofStates. These extensions have begun to emerge already,making the law of the sea at once broader, morecomplex, and more detailed than UNCLOS per se.The law of the sea can be distinguished from twoclosely related bodies of law: maritime and admiralty. is the private law relating to shipsand the commercial business of shipping. Admiraltylaw, often used synonymously with maritime law,applies to the private law of navigation and shipping,in inland waters as well as on the ocean. The lattermay also refer more parochially to the jurisdictionof specialized Admiralty courts. There maybe important overlaps between the public internationallaw of the sea and private maritime law, asmay occur through the application of rules for vesselpassage through a jurisdiction or the enforcement ofdomestic law in the ocean.The historical development of the law of the sea issometimes traced back to a Papal Bull of 1493,which divided the world's oceans between Portugaland , thereby solidifying Spain's claim to Columbus'discovery of the New World. In the earlyseventeenth century, an important ‘debate' tookplace between the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, who,in 1608, argued on the basis of natural law forfreedom of the seas, and the English academic, JohnSelden, who argued in 1635 for the establishment ofsovereign rights over areas of the ocean. In moderntimes, both regimes persist, although scientific andtechnological advances have combined to reduce thatportion of the seas that is not subject to the authorityof coastal States, and international rules have beendeveloped to regulate many types of activities thatoccur beyond the reach of national jurisdictions.This article outlines the public international law ofthe sea, focusing mainly on UNCLOS. Importantextensions of the UNCLOS framework are highlighted.The development of the law of the sea can beconceptualized as a tree with UNCLOS as its trunk.Its roots are historical customs, some centuries old,and agreements that emerged mostly after World WarII. Its branches are customs, agreements, and soft lawthat is only now beginning to take shape. Six topicalareas are covered: underlying principles, jurisdictions,fishery resources, mineral resources, marine scienceand technology, , and disputesettlement.Underlying PrinciplesUNCLOS and its related agreements articulate certaindistinctive, but closely related, principles ofinternational environmental law. One of these, concerningsovereignty over resources, can be considereda general principle of customary international law.Others, including precautionary action,…

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