Balancing ABS and IPR Governance in the Aquaculture Sector

In Oberthür, S. and G.K. Rosendal (eds), Global Governance of Genetic Resources: Access and Benefit Sharing after the Nagoya Protocol. London/New York, Routledge, 2014, pp. 196-212.

International governance of access to and benefit sharing (ABS) based on utilization of genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) enters a densely populated institutional environment. The international legal frameworks for governance of aquatic genetic resources and the interests in and needs for a sector-based approach to international transactions with genetic resources in aquaculture is growing. Aquaculture – the breeding and farming of aquatic species of animals – is currently the world’s fastest growing food industry and its role in response to the global food crisis is evident. The overall international gene flows within the aquaculture sector go a long way in explaining why the aquaculture sector has been much less subject to ABS-IPR conflicts between developed and developing countries compared to the plant and pharmaceutical sectors. As the gene flow is found largely between South-South or North-South, the need for either a Nagoya Protocol ABS regime or a multilateral system (MLS) similar to the FAO ITPGRFA at first glance seemed less prominent in aquaculture. The more dominant gene flows from South to South do, however, raise new and interesting questions for ABS governance in aquaculture.



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