Submarine cables: a challenge for ocean management
The international submarine cable industry is a major component of the global telecommunications system, providing important services and requiring increased levels of protection for the maintenance of global economic and maritime security, broadly defined. An overview is given of the submarine cable industry, including its technological developments, legal aspects, security considerations, and implications for integrated ocean planning and management. In the context of multiple ocean use, submarine cables can cause spatial conflicts with other ocean users, particularly the fishing industry. Issues to be examined include compensation for lost or damaged gear, legal liability for cable damage, and regulation and licensing of cables on the seabed of the continental shelf and the high seas. Recent industry-to-industry agreements and programs for compensation to fishers in the USA and Canada are significant advancements in the implementation of integrated approaches to ocean management and planning. The development of transparent and stable interdepartmental processes for the coordinated planning, management and regulation of submarine cables is required for national EEZs. The regulation of international cable industry practices must be harmonized with national management approaches.
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