Document Type

Book Chapter


About sevcnty per cent of the earth's ur(acc is covered by water. As a medium of navigation and travel, the ea has long facilitated world exploratIon and trade. As a source of immense resources, ic ha been the lifeblood of hlLman communities from rime immemorial. For Australia, in particular, the sea has a special significance. Australia has one of thc longest coastlines in the world, and it has sovereign rights in respect of adjaccm waters mat arc as vast in area as the cootinent itself. The I:rincipaluses ofth ' sea have traditionally been navigation and fi hing, but coday the sea is u ed for many other purposes, including recreation, s ientific research. seabed mining, power generation, militar exercis ,weapons testing, alld waste disposal. ot urprisingly, these varied uses can create conflict bet\veen St..lCS. as well as bet\veen group within states, In the sevt:ntcenth century, for example, there was a vigorous debate between Dutch and English scholars concerning legal rights in r pect of the ea. III 1609, Hugo Grotiu published an pinton, Mare Ubenlm, proclaiming the freedoI1l of thc~ and the right of the Dutch to engage in sea trade in the East Indies. OUle years late(, .he Engli h writer John Selden wrotC a treatise. Mare Clm/slIlll, refuting rotius' claim and arguing that the seas adjacent co the British coa