Governing Marine Living Resources in the Polar Regions
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Governing Marine Living Resources in the Polar Regions

Edited by Nengye Liu, Cassandra M. Brooks and Tianbao Qin

Bringing together leading scholars from across a diverse range of disciplines, this unique book examines a key question: How can we best conserve marine living resources in the polar regions, where climate change effects and human activities are particularly pressing?
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Chapter 9: Frozen robots: autonomous underwater vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Antarctic: a new tool or a new challenge for sustainable ocean governance?

David Leary


Chapter 9 addresses legal implications of using new technology (autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)) in the Antarctic. In the Southern Ocean and along the Antarctic coastline and in the airspace above the Antarctic, AUVs and UAVs respectively are emerging as a potentially valuable tool for scientific research. This chapter explores the potential scientific role that these vehicles could play, while offering thoughts on how these ‘robot’ technologies could potentially enhance environmental governance of the region. Leary considers the implications for international law and policy and seeks to sketch tentative answers to some key questions: To what extent is the use of AUVs and UAVs regulated under existing international law? What issues merit a regulatory response from the international community?

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