This paper offers some brief reflections on issues surrounding the ongoing debate in relation to the legal status of marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction. It considers one possible solution to the ideological divide over the relevance of the common heritage of mankind to marine genetic resources, modelled on Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty. The suitability of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as a possible model is also considered. The fact that this later model is now being canvassed by some States marks a major step forward in international discussions on the issue. Other possible models that have been canvassed in the academic literature are also considered. The fact that these alternatives have not been canvassed at length in diplomatic discussions to date highlights the fact that a detailed examination of the wide range of possible options is urgently needed.