A Stewardship Approach to 'Legitimate Interests' in Deep Sea Genetic Resources for Use in Aquaculture
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The aquaculture sector’s interest in areas beyond national jurisdiction (‘deep sea’) is emerging in a regulatory vacuum for accessing aquatic genetic resources and sharing the benefits from their use. A key question is how to balance the ‘legitimate’ interests of creators of deep sea genetic resource technology inventions with the public interest in sharing the genetic materials and knowledge with others to create new technologies and aquaculture strains. This article analyses approaches to ‘legitimacy’ under the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and the United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Convention on the Law of the Sea (‘UNCLOS’). All three instruments attempt to influence the sharing of genetic resource technologies to varying degrees. Using deep sea shrimp bioluminescence and tuna technologies as examples, the article gives insight into a common stewardship approach under these instruments for fairly balancing public and private interests in deep sea resources. It concludes that this common approach could be a starting point for negotiations over the United Nations’ proposed instrument under UNCLOS, which is expected to tackle access and benefit sharing of genetic resources from areas beyond national jurisdiction.
UNSW Law Journal
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Human Rights Law