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international waters

Anything not within the maritime sovereignty of any country is considered international waters under the Law of the Sea. For fishing purposes a 200-mile limit applies. This often bisects marine ecosystems such as the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap.

Marine resources are used wastefully throughout the world, including the high seas - a tragedy of the commons applies as whoever gets to them first plunders them, then moves on. 90% of large fish have been removed from marine ecosystems. All fish being caught now are "just babies" according to scientists, accordingly, the sustainable fish stock is very much depleted everywhere in the world.

There are some multi-national efforts to eliminate unsustainable fishing practices on the high seas. Already whaling is very closely regulated and all but banned.

Vulnerable elements of the world's oceans such as seamounts, ocean mammals, and migratory fish that cross international boundaries, and Atlantic coral and Pacific sponge coral system, which are vulnerable to rising ocean acidity caused by carbon dioxide, affect international waters. Even some fish nursery areas are in international waters.