Maritime boundaries are critical elements to the planning of any activity in the ocean realm. From the early 1700ís when the Dutch issued a decree establishing a "territorial sea" which was as wide as "the hypothetical range of an imaginary cannon," nations have sought to control portions of the global ocean which touch their shores. Under evolving criteria being established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), nations continue to re-define their sovereign claims to ocean space.
Many industries and activities recognize the growing importance of maritime claim and boundary delimitation. National claims may overlap, creating areas of disputed ownership and jurisdiction that can lead to confrontation and even open conflict. In the assessment, exploration and recovery of petroleum, mineral, or fishing resources, a distance of a few hundred meters can have significant economic importance. Trespassing a nation's claims could have serious consequences; arrests, fines, ship confiscation, prison, loss of limb or life.
However, the reconstruction of maritime claims and boundaries and their associated jurisdictional aspects is complex, and in many cases, confusing or contradictory. Boundary agreements may take years to develop, often involving third-party mediation. The details and meaning of boundaries may be buried in pages and pages of text.
Until now, graphical portrayal of the claims or agreed boundaries has not been readily available to those involved in marine activities. Third party publishers of claims and boundaries data typically do not include graphics, portray only one boundary per graphic, or limit their graphics to only the agreed boundaries.
More information: http://www.maritimeboundaries.com
The Global Maritime Boundaries Database (GMBD) CD-ROM brings together the claims, limits and boundaries of the world with detailed attribution and documentation so they can be queried and viewed using GIS software. Included in the GMBD are: territorial seas; contiguous, joint development, fishing, and economic zones; potential claim median line solutions, disputed areas, boundary status; and much more.
The data is only aggregated if at least 75 % of the observations are available (i.e. % of population or % of area or % of countries) on an annual basis.
The value "-9999" corresponds to "No Data".
Calculated pre 1991-1992 relative country share
Former Yugoslavia SFR:
National figures include continental shelf area of the potential EEZ even though it may not have been claimed yet for the following countries:
Albania, Bahrain, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Eritrea, Finland, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Netherlands Antilles, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan Province of China, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.
The size of breadth of the territorial sea is disputed for the following countries:
Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Rep and Uruguay.
Denmark excludes areas in Greenland.
World totals are calculated by World Resources Institute.
According to the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, the Continental Shelf is the area of the seabed and subsoil which extends beyond the territorial sea to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline and beyond that distance to the outer edge of the continental margin.
Areas of continental shelf that are disputed by overlaping claims by one or more nations have been excluded from this table. Areas that are of cooperative joint development between two or more nations have also been excluded.
Coastal States have sovereign rights over the continental shelf (the national area of the seabed) for exploring and exploiting it; the shelf can extend at least 200 nautical miles from the shore, and more under specified circumstances.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is an international agreement that sets conditions and limits on the use and exploitation of the oceans. This Convention also sets the rules on how the maritime jurisdictional boundaries of the different member states are set.
The UNCLOS was opened for signature on 10 December 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and it entered into force on 16 November 1994. As of January 2000, there are 132 countries that have ratified UNCLOS.
Further information on the Web site: http://www.maritimeboundaries.com/
Area calculations are from L. Pruett and J. Cimino, unpublished data, Global Maritime Boundaries Database (GMBD), Veridian - MRJ Technology Solutions, (Fairfax, Virginia, January, 2000).
Copyright c 2002 (Aggregations) United Nations Environment Programme/DEWA/GRID-Geneva.
Data aggregation made by Andrea DeBono and Ola Nordbeck (UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva).