It is being called on to ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the lead-up to the centenary of World War I.

Australia played a leading role in drafting the convention adopted in 2001, but 13 years later it still has not signed it.

That is alarming to maritime archaeologists, including those who have been working to protect Anzac heritage off Gallipoli.

According to Tim Smith, who led the first systematic archaeological surveys of Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, the sites are rich in heritage value