An exclusive economic zone
), as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
, is an area of the sea in which a sovereign 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 the coast of the state in question. It is also referred to as a maritime continental margin
and, in colloquial usage, may include the continental shelf
. The term does not include either the territorial sea
or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile 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
The World's exclusive economic zones, shown in dark blue (distinguished from international waters
in light blue)
Sea areas in international rights (top down view)
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 28 September 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).
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2020)
The exact extent of exclusive economic zones is a common source of conflicts between states over marine waters.
- The South China Sea is the setting for several ongoing disputes between regional powers including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
- Croatia's ZERP (Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone) in the Adriatic Sea caused friction with Italy and Slovenia, and caused problems during the accession of Croatia to the European Union.
- A wedge-shaped section of the Beaufort Sea is disputed between Canada and the United States, as the area reportedly contains substantial oil reserves.
- Mauritius claims an EEZ for Tromelin Island from France and an EEZ in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory from the UK. An Exclusive Economic Zone covering 2.3 million square kilometres is claimed by Mauritius.
- Turkey claims a portion of Cyprus's claimed EEZ based on Turkey's definition that no islands, including Cyprus, can have a full EEZ and should only be entitled to 12 nautical miles. Furthermore, the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also claims portions of Cyprus's claimed EEZ. Cyprus, intergovernmental organizations and other territories, such as the European Union, United States, Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia do not acknowledge the Turkish claims on Cyprus's land and claimed sea, and urge Turkey to restrain itself from "illegal" drilling for gas in the island's claimed EEZ.[a] The EU has threatened Turkey with economic and political sanctions for violating Cyprus's claimed EEZ.
- Greece claims a continental shelf and EEZ for each of its islands in the Aegean Sea (including Kastellorizo that has only 11.98 km2 surface area) but Turkey refuses by arguing that this claim is in violation of the principle of fairness of international law.
- Greece claims that the maritime deal between internationally recognized GNA government of Libya and Turkey is illegal and it signed a counter agreement with Egypt.
- Lebanon claims that the agreement between Cyprus and Israel overlapped its own EEZ.
- Japan claims an EEZ around Okinotorishima, but this is disputed by China, Taiwan, and South Korea, who claim it is an islet which is incapable of generating an EEZ.
Regions where a permanent ice shelf
extends beyond the coastline are also a source of potential dispute.
- 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 1992, the Canada–France Maritime Boundary Case, which centred on the EEZ around the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, was decided by an arbitral tribunal which concurred on the whole with the arguments put forth by Canada. France was awarded 18% of the area it had originally claimed.
- 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.
- In 2010 the Norway and Russia dispute of both territorial sea and EEZ with regard to the Svalbard archipelago as it affects Russia's EEZ due to its unique treaty status was resolved. A treaty was agreed in principle in April 2010 between the two states and subsequently officially ratified, resolving this demarcation dispute. The agreement was signed in Murmansk on 15 September 2010.
- In 2014, the Netherlands and Germany resolved an old border dispute  regarding the exact location of the border in the Dollart Bay.
, usually adhering to guidelines set by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(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.
Algeria on 17 April 2018 established an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off its coasts by Presidential Decree No. 18-96 of 2 Rajab 1439 corresponding to 20 March 2018.
The permanent mission of Spain to the United Nations on 27 July 2018 declared its disagreement with the EEZ announced by Algeria and that the government of Spain indicated its willingness to enter into negotiations with the government of Algeria with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on the outer limits of their respective exclusive economic zones,
The same was done by the Italian mission on 28 November 2018.
The two countries indicated that the Algerian measure had been taken unilaterally and without consulting them.
On 25 November 2018, the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an oral note in response to the Spanish protest, explaining that the Algerian government does not recognize the largely exorbitant coordinates contained in Royal Decree 236/2013, which overlap with the coordinates of Presidential Decree n° 18–96 establishing an exclusive economic zone off the coast of Algeria. The Algerian government wished to emphasize that the unilateral delimitation carried out by Spain is not in conformity with the letter of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and has not taken into consideration the configuration, the specific characteristics and the special circumstances of the Mediterranean Sea, in particular for the case of the two countries whose coasts are located face to face, as well as the objective rules and relevant principles of international law to govern the equitable delimitation of the maritime areas between Algeria and Spain, in accordance with article 74 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Algeria expressed its willingness to negotiate for a just solution
20 June 2019 a communication from Algeria addressed to the Italian embassy
and the Spanish embassy in Algiers
to show their eligibility in her exclusive economic zone.
Considering the maritime areas claimed, the total area of Argentina reaches 3,849,756 km2
. The recognized Argentine EEZ area is 1,159,063 km2
Australia's exclusive economic zones, including its 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
(CLCS) 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
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 its Antarctic claim
Exclusive economic zone claimed by the People's Republic of China:
China's undisputed EEZ –
877,019 km2 
EEZ claimed by China, disputed by Taiwan
– 1,148,485 km2 
EEZ claimed by China, disputed by other countries – 210,926 km2
Total: 2,236,430 km2 
The first figure excludes all disputed waters, while the last figure indicates China's claimed boundaries, and does not take into account adjacent powers' claims.
Area: 59,032 km2
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 Kingdom of Denmark includes the constituent country (selvstyre
) of Greenland
and the constituent country (hjemmestyre
) of the Faroe Islands
Ecuador's exclusive economic zone
Area: 1,077,231 km2
Exclusive economic zones of France, including its 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 11.7 million km2
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 Earth.
Exclusive economic zone of Greece
has claimed an EEZ of 505,572 km2
(195,202 sq mi) as per UNCLOS 1982 as well as customary international law.
Turkey doesn't recognize a legal continental shelf and EEZ around the Greek islands. As of 2020, Greece has signed EEZ agreements with Italy
's exclusive economic zones
India is currently seeking to extend its EEZ to 350 miles.
Indonesia has the 6th largest exclusive economic zone in the world. The total size is 6,159,032 km2
(2,378,016 sq mi). It claims an EEZ of 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its shores. This is due to the 13,466 islands of the Indonesian Archipelago
It has the 2nd largest coastline
of 54,720 km (34,000 mi). The five main islands are: Sumatra
, and Western New Guinea
. There are two major island groups (Nusa Tenggara
and the Maluku Islands
) and sixty smaller island groups.
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 has the 8th largest exclusive economic zone of 4,479,674 km2
(1,729,612 sq mi).
It claims an EEZ of 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its shores.
EEZ Areas of Japan
Japan has disputes over its EEZ boundaries with all its Asian neighbors (China, Russia, South Korea
, and Taiwan
). The above, and relevant maps at the Sea Around Us Project
both indicate Japan's claimed boundaries, and do not take into account the claims of adjacent jurisdications.
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 zone of Mexico
Mexico's exclusive economic zones comprise a total surface area of 3,144,295 km2
, and places Mexico among the countries with the largest areas in the world.
This puts Mexico's total territory as 5,153,735 km2
'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
(the Cook Islands
, and the Ross Dependency
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 West Sea, the EEZ remains unspecified in the Korea Bay
because China has not determined its own EEZ in the area.
The border between the North Korean and South Korean EEZs in the West Sea cannot be determined because of potential overlap and disputes over certain islands.
In the Sea of Japan, the North Korean EEZ can be approximated to be trapezoidal
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 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.
Peru's exclusive economic zone
Area: 906,454 km2
The exclusive economic zone of the Philippines shown in the lighter blue shade, with Archepelagic Waters in the darkest blue
The Polish EEZ covers the area of 30,533 km2
(11,789 sq mi) within the Baltic Sea
'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:
Portugal submitted a claim to extend its jurisdiction over an additional 2.15 million square kilometres of the adjacent 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.
Area: 23,627 km2
Russia's exclusive economic zone
- Kaliningrad (Baltic Sea) – 11,634 km2
- Saint 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
Area: 158,861 km2
Area: 825,052 km2
South Africa's maritime zones, including the exclusive economic zone
South Africa's EEZ includes both that next to the African mainland and that around the Prince Edward Islands
, totalling 1,535,538 km2
- Mainland – 1,068,659 km2
- Prince Edward islands – 466,879 km2
South Korean exclusive economic zone:
Area: 300,851 (225,214) km2
Spain's exclusive economic zone
Area: 1,039,233 km2
UK, Ireland, Iceland & Faroes EEZ
The EEZ areas of the United Kingdom, Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories (in decreasing size)
Exclusive Economic Zone map
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
Note, the totals in the table actually add up to 12,234,403 square km and 4,723,705 square miles.
Territorial claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam's EEZ has a blue line.
claims an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 1,395,096 km2
(538,650 sq mi) with 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) from its shores.
Rankings by area
EEZs in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean
EEZs in the Pacific Ocean
- ^ The reference gives an approximate figure of 2 million square kilometres for the EEZ claimed by Australia as part of its Antarctic Territory. This is in addition to the 8 million square kilometre total given in the reference. This EEZ is also distinct from the 2.56 million square kilometres of additional continental shelf mentioned in the reference.
- ^ a b The source does not provide any data for Navassa Island even though the U.S. federal government did claim an EEZ area for this disputed territory.
- ^ Comprising Metropolitan France and Overseas France.
- ^ Including Palmyra Atoll and 12 unincorporated territories of the United States. The source does not provide any data for Navassa Island.
- ^ Including 6 Australian external territories.
- ^ Comprising the United Kingdom, 3 Crown dependencies and 12 British Overseas Territories. The source does not provide any data for the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
- ^ Comprising New Zealand proper and Tokelau. The Cook Islands and Niue are listed separately due to their full treaty-making capacities within the United Nations System.
- ^ Comprising Denmark proper, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.
- ^ Including Bouvet Island, Jan Mayen, and Svalbard.
- ^ a b A part of the Realm of New Zealand, listed separately due to its full treaty-making capacity within the United Nations System.
- ^ Comprising Continental Portugal, the Azores, and Madeira.
- ^ Comprising the European Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean.
- ^ Including the Åland Islands.
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- ^ EEZ and shelf areas of Vietnam – Sea Around Us Project – Fisheries, Ecosystems & Biodiversity – Data and Visualization.
- ^ "Marine Regions". www.marineregions.org.
- ^ a b EEZ and shelf areas of Tokelau – Sea Around Us Project – Fisheries, Ecosystems & Biodiversity – Data and Visualization.
- ^ "FAO Country Profiles:New Zealand". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- ^ "FAO Country Profiles:Tokelau". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- ^ If the claimed Argentine Antarctica and its associated EEZ area are included, the total internal area of Argentina plus its EEZ area reaches 6,581,500 km2.
- ^ a b EEZ and shelf areas of North Korea (Yellow Sea) – Sea Around Us Project – Fisheries, Ecosystems & Biodiversity – Data and Visualization.
- ^ a b EEZ and shelf areas of North Korea (Sea of Japan) – Sea Around Us Project – Fisheries, Ecosystems & Biodiversity – Data and Visualization.
- ^ "FAO Country Profiles:Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- Suk Kyoon Kim (2017). Maritime Disputes in Northeast Asia: Regional Challenges and Cooperation. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-34422-8.
- Kotch, John Barry; Abbey, Michael (2003). "Ending naval clashes on the Northern Limit Line and the quest for a West Sea peace regime" (PDF). Asian Perspectives. 27 (2): 175–204. doi:10.1353/apr.2003.0024. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2011.
- Prescott, John Robert Victor; Schofield, Clive H. (2001). Furness, Shelagh (ed.). "Undelimited Maritime Boundaries of the Asian Rim in the Pacific Ocean". Maritime Briefing. Durham: International Boundaries Research Unit, University of Durham. 3 (1). ISBN 978-1-897643-43-3.
- Van Dyke, Jon M. (2009). "Disputes Over Islands and Maritime Boundaries in East Asia". In Seoung Yong Hong, Jon M.; Van Dyke (eds.). Maritime Boundary Disputes, Settlement Processes, and the Law of the Sea. Leiden: BRILL. pp. 39–76. ISBN 978-90-04-17343-9.
Last edited on 8 June 2021, at 05:36
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