Marine bioprospecting is defined as systematic search for interesting and unique genes, molecules and organisms from the marine environment with features that may be of value for commercial development. The high biodiversity of the oceans represents a correspondingly rich source of chemical diversity. Marine natural products identified by bioprospecting could have potential as new drugs, industrial enzymes, anti-freeze proteins, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements as well as ingredients in cosmetics.
Other results from marine bioprospecting could be new technology for bioremediation and more efficient oil production.
There is a growing scientific and commercial interest in the biotechnology potential of Arctic biodiversity, and researchers from several nations are currently engaged in research that could be characterised as bioprospecting.