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Areas beyond national jurisdiction are the largest environment on earth and marine genetic resources are its new, and perhaps final, frontier. It is no wonder, then, that the scope and protection of marine genetic resources in this oceanic space have been hotly contested and that a new doctrine for ocean governance has been coined in this context: mare geneticum. This chapter examines different definitions of marine genetic resources debated in the ongoing treaty negotiations over areas beyond national jurisdiction (the BBNJ), the conflicting interests involved, and how the law-science relationship has figured in these debates. Ultimately, many of the debates do not challenge the extractivist mindset, which s, decontextualizes, and recontextualizes ocean life into resources and benefits and that journey from data into information. Drawing on the details of the law-science debate about the scope of marine genetic resources, this chapter calls upon the community of ocean experts, both legal and scientific, to seize the precious opportunity of crafting a new treaty for areas beyond national jurisdiction to challenge the extractivist mindset and to consider an alternative mode of relating to ocean lifeworlds.

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Earth Sciences, Environment & Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability, Geography, Humanities, Law, Politics & International Relations, Social Sciences


Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Geography | Law


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Genetic Freedom of the Seas in the Age of Extractivism: Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction