Law of the sea - implications for coastal states. A symposium.
Texas Law Institute of Coastal and Marine Resources
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It is axiomatic that the law changes to reflect new technological developments as well as emerging community needs. This process is reflected in the law of the sea. The first effort to codify and develop the law of the sea was started by the League of Nations, which convened in 1930 a conference to codify the international law of territorial waters. By 1958, the concern of states and the consequent need for an international accommodation encompassed not only the territorial sea, but also the use of the high seas, the exploration of the continental shelf, and the regulation of high sea fisheries. Hence, the 1958 United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea produced the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Convention on the High Seas, the Convention on the Continental Shelf, and the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas. The contemplated Law of the Sea Conference to amend the above Conventions reflects further technological developments as well as changing emphasis and heightened concerns. Technological developments allow greater and new exploitation of the mineral as well as living resources of the oceans, and the expanded use of the oceans for such purposes as offshore terminals, power plants, and habitation. At the same time, reliance on ocean resources is increasing with a heightened awareness of the need to insure equitable allocation of resources, and the protection of the marine environment from degradation. These developments exert pressure on the international balance of accomodation reflected in the 1958 Conventions. National concern with resources and the environment is producing claims to wider national competence to prescribe and apply national authority to offshore activities. Yet, and at the same time, there is a growing trend toward the development of international law, regulation, and machinery, either as an alternative to national division of the oceans and their resources, or as regulation and protection of the use of the oceans and their resources for the benefit of all users in the face of increased national jurisdictions. The success of the new law of the sea conferences thus depends on the emergence of a consensus for a new balance of accomodation that expands both national jurisdiction and international regulation. It is a tribute to the Texas Coastal and Marine Council and its Chairman, Senator A.R. Schwartz, that they took the lead in calling a conference to clarify the issues posed before the Law of the Sea Conference, and to assess their ramification on the international, national, and state levels. The proceedings that follow attest to the wisdom for, and success of, the conference, for which the speakers should be thanked and congratulated. The Texas Juridical Institute is proud to have consponsored the conference, and the Texas Law Institute of Coastal and Marine Resources to have edited and published the proceedings.