The Law of the Sea also says that no signatory country shall claim
or exercise sovereignty, or sovereign rights over any part of the
area or its resources so no unilateral action on the part of governments
should be made without intergovernmental approval and the rights
to resources of the area are vested in mankind as a whole. Benefits
cannot accrue to a single nation.
The activities carried out in the international area --and this
is paraphrasing --are to be carried out for the benefit of mankind
as a whole, regardless of the geographical location of states, and
taking into particular consideration the interests and needs of
developing states. The Seabed Authority, which was established as
a result of the ratification and the coming into force of the Law
of the Sea, shall provide for the equitable sharing of financial
and other economic benefits derived from activities in the area.
In summary then, I believe there are no legal precedents that directly
apply to ocean fertilization, although there are parts of existing
laws that are relevant. It is my understanding that scientists can
go ahead with ocean fertilization if governments can agree, and
where the benefits accrue to everybody.