Marine Protection Treaty Could Hinder Medical Research

A treaty in the works for marine life protection in the high seas might not be an entirely good thing, Nature reports.

For the treaty to be official, nations must agree to a system for creating large marine sanctuaries on the high seas and lay out rules for how industry operates in these waters.

The most contentious issue is how to regulate the use of the genetic resources of the high seas—both the marine creatures themselves and their gene sequences.

The goal is to prevent biopiracy—attempts by wealthy nations or companies to commercialize biological resources without sharing the benefits with all nations. All nations are technically the owners of resources in the high seas.

Researchers welcome the prospects of a high-seas treaty, but they are worried that efforts to prevent biopiracy will curtail their ability to do basic research in the open ocean.

Read the Nature article here.

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