The Evolution of Ocean Law; The Oceans; Scientific American Presents; by Jacobson, Rieser; 6 Page(s)
Who owns the oceans? A quick glance at most maps of the world suggests that no one does. The oceans usually are depicted as an uninterrupted wash of pale blue, seemingly representing free seas subject to no nation's sovereignty or jurisdiction.
But this picture is inaccurate: it disregards the centuries-old political and legal struggles that have divided the oceans. To understand those tensions and the evolving international law of the sea, imagine instead an animated historical map of the world oceans in which one year whizzes by every four seconds.