Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Before the 1958 Continental Shelf Convention scientists were free to do their research anywhere in the oceans except within a narrow band of territorial waters. Since that time national jurisdiction has closed off increasing amounts of the sea. Most coastal areas and continental shelf areas now require coastal state consent prior to commencing work. Possible reasons for this closure include 1) fear of natural resource exploitation, 2) fear of military exploitation, or 3) growing feelings of nationalism among the developing countries. This paper is divided into two parts. The first deals at length with the development of the issue of freedom of research. The second part utilizes cruise tracks of the URI research vessel TRIDENT for the period 1973-1975 to assess what impact a 200 mile coastal state jurisdiction may have on marine science as it is practiced today.