A-11/20 Regulating marine bioprospecting. Exploring the establishment of new regulatory regimes in the blue bioeconomy

This article addresses the dynamic and contested processes of establishing new legal arrangements in the marine bioeconomy, and spatio-legal aspects of establishing a rights system for marine bioprospecting in Norway is explored. There are great expectations from authorities and researchers that marine bioprospecting can have major effects on future economies, through innovations that would lead to producing medicine as well as food, fodder, cosmetics and other products. Vital to this process are questions regarding rights to access, collect and utilise resources, and the sharing of costs and benefits, which are potentially high at both ends of this spectrum. Currently, a state driven process aims to better regulate and control bioprospecting within areas under Norwegian jurisdiction. The present paper examines the challenging process of establishing such regulatory framework where actors struggle to gain discursive hegemony by obtaining legal backing for claims to genetic resources in the Norwegian littoral. Four discursive arguments are discerned and it is argued that knowledge and understanding about these discursive processes is of vital importance when policies for the future bioeconomy are shaped. Rights systems developed within the hegemonic discourses might ‘lock’ sectors in the bioeconomy into certain development pathways that have consequences for the potential value of the bioeconomy as an asset for the society as a whole. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 194, 105207

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