Exclusive economic zone
Exclusive economic zone
The World's exclusive economic zones, shown in dark blue
An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast. In colloquial usage, the term may include the continental shelf. The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nmi limit. The difference between the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a "sovereign right" which refers to the coastal state's rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters.
EEZs in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean
EEZs in the Pacific Ocean
Generally, a state's exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, extending seaward to a distance of no more than 200 nmi (370 km) out from its coastal baseline. The exception to this rule occurs when exclusive economic zones would overlap; that is, state coastal baselines are less than 400 nmi (740 km) apart. When an overlap occurs, it is up to the states to delineate the actual maritime boundary. Generally, any point within an overlapping area defaults to the nearest state.
A state's exclusive economic zone starts at the seaward edge of its territorial sea and extends outward to a distance of 200 nmi (370 km) from the baseline. The exclusive economic zone stretches much further into sea than the territorial waters, which end at 12 nmi (22 km) from the coastal baseline (if following the rules set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). Thus, the exclusive economic zones includes the contiguous zone. States also have rights to the seabed of what is called the continental shelf up to 350 nmi (650 km) from the coastal baseline, beyond the exclusive economic zones, but such areas are not part of their exclusive economic zones. The legal definition of the continental shelf does not directly correspond to the geological meaning of the term, as it also includes the continental rise and slope, and the entire seabed within the exclusive economic zone.
The idea of allotting nations EEZs to give them more control of maritime affairs outside territorial limits gained acceptance in the late 20th century.
Initially, a country's sovereign territorial waters extended 3 nmi or 5.6 km (range of cannon shot) beyond the shore. In modern times, a country's sovereign territorial waters extend to 12 nmi (22 km) beyond the shore. One of the first assertions of exclusive jurisdiction beyond the traditional territorial seas was made by the United States in the Truman Proclamation of September 28, 1945. However, it was Chile and Peru respectively that first claimed maritime zones of 200 nautical miles with the Presidential Declaration Concerning Continental Shelf of 23 June 1947 (El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile, 29 June 1947) and Presidential Decree No. 781 of 1 August 1947 (El Peruano: Diario Oficial. Vol. 107, No. 1983, 11 August 1947).
It was not until 1982 with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone was formally adopted.
The exact extent of exclusive economic zones is a common source of conflicts between states over marine waters.
Norway and Russia dispute both territorial sea and EEZ with regard to the Svalbard archipelago as it affects Russia's EEZ due to its unique treaty status. A treaty was agreed in principle in April 2010 between the two states and subsequently ratified, resolving this demarcation dispute. The agreement was signed in Murmansk on September 15, 2010.
The South China Sea (and the Spratly Islands) is the site of an ongoing dispute between several neighboring nations.
A wedge-shaped section of the Beaufort Sea is disputed between Canada and the United States, as the area reportedly contains substantial oil reserves.
France claims a portion of Canada's EEZ for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon based on a new definition of the continental shelf and EEZ between the two countries. Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon is entirely surrounded by Canada's EEZ.
Mauritius claims EEZ for Tromelin from France and EEZ for British Indian Ocean Territory from the UK.
Turkey claims a portion of Cyprus's EEZ based on Turkey's peculiar definition that no islands, including Cyprus, can have full EEZ and should only entitled to a 12 nautical mile reduced EEZ rather than the usual 200 that Turkey and every other country are entitled to, including an area to the south of Cyprus containing an offshore gas field. Furthermore, the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which was created as result of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, also claims portions of Cypriot EEZ. Cyprus and the international community do not acknowledge the Turkish claims on Cyprus's land and sea, which are viewed as illegal under international law and urge Turkey to restraint itself from illegal drilling for gas in the island's EEZ. Furthermore, EU has threatened Turkey with economic and political sanctions for violating the Cypriot EEZ.
Lebanon claims that the agreement between Cyprus and Israel overlapped its own EEZ.
The Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland occurred periodically over many decades, until they were resolved with a final agreement in 1976.
In 1999, following the Hanish Islands conflict, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the EEZs of Yemen and Eritrea should be demarcated equidistantly between the mainlands of the two nations, without taking account of sovereignty over the islands.
In 2009, in a dispute between Romania and Ukraine over Snake Island, the UN International Court of Justice decided that Snake Island has no EEZ beyond 12 nautical miles of its own land.
Fisheries management, usually adhering to guidelines set by the FAO, provides significant practical mechanisms for the control of EEZs. Transboundary fish stocks are an important concept in this control. Transboundary stocks are fish stocks that range in the EEZs of at least two countries. Straddling stocks, on the other hand, range both within an EEZ as well as in the high seas, outside any EEZ. A stock can be both transboundary and straddling.
Australia's exclusive economic zones including Antarctic claim
Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone was declared on 1 August 1994, and extends from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with another state. To the 12 nautical miles boundary is Australia's territorial waters. Australia has the third largest exclusive economic zone, behind France and the United States, but ahead of Russia, with the total area of 8,148,250 square kilometres, which actually exceeds its land territory.
The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf confirmed, in April 2008, Australia's rights over an additional 2.5 million square kilometres of seabed beyond the limits of Australia's EEZ. Australia also claimed, in its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, additional Continental Shelf past its EEZ from the Australian Antarctic Territory, but these claims were deferred on Australia's request. However, Australia's EEZ from its Antarctic Territory is approximately 2 million square kilometres.
Brazil's exclusive economic zones
Brazil's EEZ includes areas around the Fernando de Noronha Islands, St Paul and St. Peter Archipelago and the Trindade and Martim Islands.
Canada's exclusive economic zone and territorial waters
Canada is unusual in that its exclusive economic zone, covering 5,599,077 km2 (2,161,816 sq mi), is slightly smaller than its territorial waters. The latter generally extend only 12 nautical miles from the shore, but also include inland marine waters such as Hudson Bay (about 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) across), the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the internal waters of the Arctic archipelago.
Chile's exclusive economic zones, including Antarctic claim
Chile's EEZ includes areas around the Desventuradas Islands, Easter Island and the Juan Fernández Islands.
People's Republic of China's exclusive economic zone: China's EEZ877,019 km2 EEZ claimed by China, disputed by Taiwan EEZ claimed by China, disputed by others3,000,000 km2 Total:3,877,019
The first figure excludes all disputed waters, while the last figure indicates China's claimed boundaries, and does not take into account neighboring powers' claims.
Exclusive economic zone between Israel and Cyprus as signed in Nicosia. (Labels in Hebrew.)
The Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus covers more than 70,000 km2 and is divided between 13 exploration blocks. The process of the establishment of Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon Exclusive Economic Zones was held in Nicosia in 2010 with separate meetings between each country. Cyprus and Israel as part of their wider cooperation have agreed to start their gas explorations with a common American company, specifically Noble Energy. Cypriot and Israeli governments are discussing to export their natural gas through the shipping of compressed Natural Gas to Greece and then to the rest of Europe or through a subsea Pipelines starting from Israel and then leading to Greece via Cyprus.
The exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of the Kingdom of Denmark
Exclusive economic zones of France, including Antarctic territorial claim
Due to its numerous overseas departments and territories scattered on all oceans of the planet, France possesses the largest EEZ in the world, covering 11,691,000 km2 (4,513,920 mi2). The EEZ of France covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, whereas the land area of the French Republic is only 0.45% of the total land area of the Earth.
Greece has claimed an exclusive economic zone, as it is entitled to do so, as per UNCLOS 1982 as well as customary international law.
According to published maps, the Israel government has recognized the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Greece and Cyprus. They describe the course of the gas pipeline which will transfer gas produced by American Νoble Εnergy Ltd. from the Leviathan reservoir to Europe, through an undersea pipeline crossing Greece. The gas pipeline should traverse the sea area, which according to international law, is part of the Greek EEZ. By this proposal, Israel recognizes the Greek EEZ in the area and offers an advantage that Greece can use during negotiation procedures to support its claims on the area. In practice, this cooperation will set up a powerful energy coalition between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The mining and operating part will be undertaken by an American company. "The substance of the issue is that in an effort to protect and secure vital Israeli interests in the Mediterranean Sea, Israel has been left with no choice other than to officially delimit its maritime borders".
India's exclusive economic zones
Mainland India and Lakshadweep, 1,641,514 km2
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 663,629 km2
Total: 2,305,143 km2
In 2010, an agreement was signed with Cyprus concerning the limit of territorial waters between Israel and Cyprus at the maritime halfway point, a clarification essential for safeguarding Israel's rights to oil and underwater gas reservoirs. The agreement was signed in Nicosia by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau and the Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou. The two countries agreed to cooperate in the development of any cross border resources discovered, and to negotiate an agreement on dividing joint resources.
Japan's exclusive economic zones: Japan's EEZ Joint regime with Republic of Korea EEZ claimed by Japan, disputed by others
Japan also refers to various categories of "shipping area" – Smooth Water Area, Coasting Area, Major or Greater Coasting Area  , Ocean Going Area – but it is unclear whether these are intended to have any territorial or economic implications.
Exclusive economic zones of the Realm of New Zealand, including the Ross Dependency (shaded)
New Zealand's EEZ covers 4,083,744 km2 (1,576,742 sq mi), which is approximately fifteen times the land area of the country. Sources vary significantly on the size of New Zealand's EEZ; for example, a recent government publication gave the area as roughly 4,300,000 km2. These figures are for the EEZ of New Zealand proper, and do not include the EEZs of other territories in the Realm of New Zealand (Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands and the Ross Dependency).
The exclusive economic zone of North Korea
The exclusive economic zone of North Korea stretches 200 nautical miles from its basepoints in both the West Sea (Yellow Sea) and the Sea of Japan. The EEZ was declared in 1977 after North Korea had contested the validity of the Northern Limit Lines (NLL) set up after the Korean War as maritime borders. The EEZ has not been codified in law and North Korea has never specified its coordinates, making it difficult to determine its specific scope.
In the Sea of Japan, the North Korean EEZ can be approximated to be trapezoidal-shaped. The border between North Korea and Russia's respective EEZs is the only such border that has been determined in East Asia. Here, the EEZ does not cause many problems, even with regards to South Korea, because the sea is not thought to be rich in resources.
Norway's exclusive economic zones, including dependent territory Bouvet Island
Norway has a large exclusive economic zone of 819 620 km2 around its coast. The country has a fishing zone of 1,878,953 km2, including fishing zones around Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
In April 2009, the United Nations Commission for the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved Norway's claim to an additional 235,000 square kilometres of continental shelf. The commission found that Norway and Russia both had valid claims over a portion of shelf in the Barents Sea.
|Region||EEZ & TW Area (km2)||Land area||Total|
|Mainland||1 273 482||323 802||1 597 284|
|Svalbard||402 574||61 002||463 576|
|Jan Mayen||273 118||373||273 491|
|Bouvet Island||436 004||49||436 053|
|Total||2 385 178||385 226||2 770 404|
The exclusive economic zone of the Philippines shown in the lighter blue shade, with Archepelagic Waters in the darkest blue
The Philippines' EEZ covers 2,263,816 km2 (874,064 sq mi).
Portugal's Exclusive Economic Zones plus submitted Extended Continental Shelf to the UN
Portugal has the 20th largest EEZ in the world. Presently, it is divided in three non-contiguous sub-zones:
Continental Portugal 327,667 km2
Azores 953,633 km2
Madeira 446,108 km2
Total : 1,727,408 km2
Portugal submitted a claim to extend its jurisdiction over additional 2.15 million square kilometers of the neighboring continental shelf in May 2009, resulting in an area with a total of more than 3,877,408 km2. The submission, as well as a detailed map, can be found in the Task Group for the extension of the Continental Shelf  website.
Spain disputes the EEZ's southern border, maintaining that it should be drawn halfway between Madeira and the Canary Islands. But Portugal exercises sovereignty over the Savage Islands, a small archipelago north of the Canaries, claiming an EEZ border further south. Spain objects, arguing that the Savage Islands do not have a separate continental shelf, citing article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Russia's exclusive economic zone
Kaliningrad (Baltic Sea) – 11,634 km2
St. Petersburg (Baltic Sea) – 12,759 km2
Barents Sea – 1,308,140 km2
Black Sea (without the Crimean EEZ) – 66,854 km2
Pacific – 3,419,202 km2
Siberia – 3,277,292 km2
Total – 8,095,881 km2
Somalia's exclusive economic zone
South Africa's maritime zones, including the exclusive economic zone
Mainland – 1,068,659 km2
Prince Edward islands – 466,879 km2
South Korean exclusive economic zone: Korean EEZ EEZ claimed by Republic of Korea and Japan Joint regime with Japan
Area: 300,851 (225,214) km2
British Isles EEZ
The United Kingdom's exclusive economic zone is the fifth largest in the world at 6,805,586 square km. It comprises the exclusive economic zones surrounding the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories. The figure does not include the EEZ of the British Antarctic Territory. The exclusive economic zones associated with the Falkland Islands and South Georgia are disputed by Argentina. The EEZ of the Chagos archipelago also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory is also disputed with Mauritius which considers the EEZ as part of its territory.
The UK was late to establish an EEZ, relying on overlapping maritime zones for fisheries, pollution control, and energy matters. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 gave the powers to establish an EEZ, with the zone defined by The Exclusive Economic Zone Order 2013 which came into force on 31 March 2014.
Only the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are part of the EU. The Crown dependencies and the remaining overseas territories (that is, all except Gibraltar) are not part of the EU. The United Kingdom has not as yet claimed its rights with regards to Gibraltar or the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus.
|United Kingdom||773,676||298,718||includes Rockall and the Isle of Man|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||638,568||246,552||disputed with Mauritius|
|British Virgin Islands||80,117||30,933|
|Falkland Islands||550,872||212,693||disputed with Argentina|
|Gibraltar||426||164||disputed with Spain|
|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||1,449,532||559,667||disputed with Argentina|
|Tristan da Cunha archipelago†||754,720||291,400|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||154,068||59,486|
†Part of the overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which together has an EEZ of 1,641,294 square km.
Exclusive economic zones of the United States, including insular areas
The United States' exclusive economic zone is the second largest in the world, covering 11,351,000 km2. Areas of its EEZ are located in three oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.
Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
Alaska – 3,770,021 km2 (1,455,613 sq mi)
Hawaii – Northwest Islands – 1,579,538 km2 (609,863 sq mi)
U.S. East Coast – 915,763 km2 (353,578 sq mi)
Hawaii – Main Islands – 895,346 km2 (345,695 sq mi)
U.S. West Coast – 825,549 km2 (318,746 sq mi)
Northern Marianas – 749,268 km2 (289,294 sq mi)
Mainland Gulf Coast – 707,832 km2 (273,295 sq mi)
Johnston Atoll – 442,635 km2 (170,902 sq mi)
Howland and Baker Islands – 434,921 km2 (167,924 sq mi)
Wake Island – 407,241 km2 (157,237 sq mi)
American Samoa – 404,391 km2 (156,136 sq mi)
Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef – 352,300 km2 (136,000 sq mi)
Jarvis Island – 316,665 km2 (122,265 sq mi)
Guam – 221,504 km2 (85,523 sq mi)
Puerto Rico – 177,685 km2 (68,605 sq mi)
U.S. Virgin Islands – 33,744 km2 (13,029 sq mi)
Total: 11,351,000 km2 (4,383,000 sq mi)
Territorial claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam's EEZ has a blue line.
Vietnam has an exclusive economic zone of 417,663 km2 (161,261 sq mi). It includes the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands. It has disputes mainly with China due to the Nine-Dash Line.
Rankings by area
This list includes dependent territories within their sovereign states (including uninhabited territories), but does not include claims on Antarctica. EEZ+TIA is exclusive economic zone (EEZ) plus total internal area (TIA) which includes land and internal waters.
|Rank||Country||EEZ km2||Shelf km2||EEZ+TIA km2|
|14||Federated States of Micronesia||2,996,419||19,403||2,997,121|
|16||Papua New Guinea||2,402,288||191,256||2,865,128|
|88||São Tomé and Príncipe||131,397||1,902||132,361|
|97||Antigua and Barbuda||110,089||4,128||110,531|
|105||Trinidad and Tobago||74,199||25,284||79,329|
|111||United Arab Emirates||58,218||57,474||141,818|
|115||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||36,302||1,561||36,691|
|120||Congo, Republic of the||31,017||7,982||373,017|
|138||Saint Kitts and Nevis||9,974||653||10,235|
|143||Democratic Republic of the Congo||1,606||1,593||2,346,464|
|150||Bosnia and Herzegovina||50||50||51,259|
|160||Central African Republic||622,984|
Air Defense Identification Zone
R v Marshall
Special economic zone