The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention) is the most important international regime governing the oceans. It covers a wide range of issues, including navigational rights, protection of the marine environment and, relevant for this paper, jurisdiction over living and non-living marine resources. The Convention entered into force in 1994 and, as of October 2009, 158 States and the European Community were parties to the Convention. Of the major powers, only the United States has yet to accede to the Convention, though there are indications it may soon join as well.
Issues Associated with the Implementation of Article 82 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ISA Technical Study no. 4 (Kingston, Jamaica: International Seabed Authority, 2009).