Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The 1982 Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) has given states jurisdiction over unprecedented scopes of ocean space. Marine scientific research is among the activities under coastal state control. This thesis examines five possible areas of impact of coastal state control on United States research programs. These are: 1. research which was denied outright, 2. reasons for denials, 3. research which was delayed, 4. the extent to which researchers avoid requests in the waters of restrictive states, and 5. the level of interest among UNOLS institutions in cooperative arrangements with foreign governments. The international legal framework for marine scientific research, and the major researcher institutions in the United States are also presented. Data is drawn from State Department files and from a survey of UNOLS ship operators. The percentage of proposed research projects denied increased steadily from 1982 to 1988, followed by a sharp decline in 1989. The majority of these projects was curtailed by a lack of response by coastal states. Other reasons included required lead times not being met by applicants, excessive or onerous requirements being imposed by coastal states, and military security. In contrast to denials, delays have steadily increased, with a substantial rise in 1989. The extent to which ship operators indicated that they avoid requests to restrictive states agrees loosely with State Department data. Four institutions indicated that they had established cooperative arrangements with foreign states, while one indicated three proposed arrangements. From the opposing trends in denials and delays, it is speculated that coastal states are cautiously loosening control. This is considered especially true for Mexico, which was found to be the most restrictive state.