The obligation of states to guarantee the sustainable use of the natural resources of the seas and oceans is a result of the regulations of international law. Above all, these emphasize the necessity of linking the process of managing those resources with protection of the marine environment in which they occur. Less attention, however, is paid to the social consequences of not fulfilling the duty to use resources sustainable. The subject of this article is the heterogeneous scope of rights and duties of individual states to use marine resources, dependent on the geographical localization of these resources. Attention will also be given to the central role which is fulfilled, in the context of the law of the sea, by the whole set of legal principles, according to which stales using resources should be guided with the aim of ensuring the sustainable exploitation of those resources.