The sustainable management of our oceans represents a crucial challenge of our time. This importance has been recognized by the international community through the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which firmly express the determination to “[c]onserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (Goal 14).
One current focus in this respect is the development of a governance regime for marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), which comprise the high seas and the international seabed area. The high seas, which cover about 64% of the world’s oceans, have in the past been subject to very limited regulation, with freedom of the high seas as one of the key governing principles. However, intensified use of ABNJ (e.g. fisheries and shipping) and consequential strains on the environment and food security have led to a growing concern that there is an urgent need for the elaboration of its regulatory regime.