So just when do the laws of the UK run out.....3, 12 or 200 miles....if you pick something off the seabed at 15 miles out, is it yours???and are you deemed to be importing it if you bring it back......
"Territorial Waters" used to be three miles then various countries extended it outwards in leaps and bounds to 5 then 12 then 15 then ............ it just depends how powerful you are.
The "Continental Shelf Convention" divides up the seabed for exploration purposes between adjacent nations - this means that a country can claim the seabed out into the oceans for a couple of hundred miles or so offshore and apply it's own laws.
Plus if you are doing something really illegal (like making war on someone) it all goes by the board and they can start blowing you out of the water.
Mrs T turned this into a fine art when she threw the famous 200 mile exclusion zone around the Falklands and then in a fit of pique ordered the Belgrano to be blown up when it was not only outside of the exclusion zone but sailing away from it!!
With regard to ownership - if in doubt don't pick anything up from the seabed as it's a racing certainty that it doesn't belong to you if it's worth anything.
"Ownership" is a funny thing when it comes to picking things up off the seabed. If it's worth anything I guarantee that a faceless department within our government (very often someone representing Brenda) will:
o Decide that they "own" it.
o Remove it from your possession.
o Fine you for not wanting to give it to the greedy.