The High Seas and the International Seabed Area

This article is set out in three parts. The first section briefly describes the geographic scope of the sea. The second section analyzes the geographic scope of the high seas. The last section presents six agreed legal principles relevant to the seabed debate which – contrary to the tone of much of the debate – constitute a substantial and growing consensus on the elements of the legal regime of the seabed beyond coastal state jurisdiction. The article concludes by suggesting that more is agreed in this area than is often acknowledged, and that the broader debate would be aided by recognition of this.