The Poseidon Project: The End of Freedom of the Seas, the Beginning of New Ocean Governance
Since the early 17th century, “freedom of the seas” has been the foundation of international attempts to manage the oceans. Given most forceful expression by the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, the concept defends free use of and access to the oceans, which Grotius viewed as a “natural highway” between nations. But it has become increasingly clear that the Grotian concept relies on assumptions about the nature of the oceans that are often no longer true, including the inexhaustibility of marine resources. As a consequence, freedom of the seas has been under pressure since the mid-20th century, and is succumbing to a mix of expanded national control and new international supervision. In The Poseidon Project, David Bosco tracks the creation and unraveling of freedom of the seas, and further explores the creation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the new struggle to govern the oceans in a world of increasing geopolitical friction and environmental pressure.
David Bosco is Associate Professor in the Department of International Studies at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He focuses on
international organizations, global governance and international law. A lawyer by training, he is the author of Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics (Oxford
University Press, 2014).