Sovereignty Submerged: Sea Mining & Accumulation in the Pacific. DOPE LEX 2014.

2014 Sammler, K. Sovereignty Submerged: Deep Sea Mining, Governance, & Accumulation in the Pacific. Dimensions of Political Ecology, Lexington, KY 27 Feb–1 Mar.

ABSTRACT: We are at the threshold of a new era of deep seabed mining was the declaration made recently by Michael Lodge of the International Seabed Authority (Shukman, 2013, ISA). The United Nations regulatory apparatus is responsible for administering mineral resources in international waters. The ISA has been issuing exploration permits since 2001 and extraction of minerals from the sea floor is expected by 2016. Many Pacific nations have also been issuing permits in their Ex- clusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extend out to 200 nautical miles from shore. The EEZ, a jurisdiction quite candid in its title, defines sovereignty in this area based on resources instead of territorial control (Vidas, 2011). The extension of state space into the ocean is challenging conventional institutions of governance and demanding new management regimes, prompting concerns over economic fairness and environmental impacts. Furthermore, limited regulatory and operational capacities within an amorphous and turbulent ocean space compounds the difficulties associated with managing environmental and financial issues in a complex marine management regime that combines multilateral governance interests and international state-sponsored corpo- rate endeavors.

What are the implications of ocean space development for state practices of resource governance, sovereignty, and territory? This paper will focus on events developing in the Pacific Ocean, as deep seabed minerals become economically and technically viable, and national and international governing apparatuses struggle to create a feasible framework.


Graduate and Professional Student Council University of Az, $500.
Institute of the Environment University of Arizona, $500.