Natural Resource claims

I’ve been looking for maps that show all the geographic rights or treaties for the world fisheries. Along the way I came across this remarkable map resource, thanks to New Security Beat blog. Theo Deutinger’s map shows the surprising extent of ocean claims, but doesn’t incorporate open ocean treaty coverage.

As burgeoning populations and growing economies continue to strain natural resource stocks around the world, countries have begun looking to more remote and difficult-to-access resources, including deep-sea oil, gas, and minerals. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) guarantees exclusive access to these resources within 200 nautical miles of a nation’s sovereign territory – called an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). TD Architects’ “Exclusive Economic Zone” map illustrates this invisible global chessboard and highlights some examples of disputed areas, such as the South China Sea, the Mediterranean, the Falkland/Malvina Islands, and the Arctic.

The creator of “Exclusive Economic Zone,” Theo Deutinger, points out “that if a country owns a minuscule rock somewhere in the ocean, this rock’s exploitable surface increases from almost zero on-shore to 430,000 km² offshore.”


Photo Credit: “Exclusive Economic Zone” courtesy of Theo Deutinger and TD Architects.

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2 thoughts on “Natural Resource claims

  1. There are some conventions which cover open-ocean areas outside national EEZs. Examples that come to mind immediately are the London Convention covering pollution at sea:

    This framework has been invoked in the debate over iron fertilization of the ocean, as one example. See the Royal Society’s review of geoengineering:

    The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, part of the Antarctic Treaty System also covers open-ocean areas.

    The International Whaling Commission also covers international waters beyond any nation’s EEZ.

    The Australian extended continental shelf claim shown on the map was confirmed in 2008:

    by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

    greatly extending the Australian marine jurisdiction.

  2. Thanks heaps Will. With your permission I will promote your collection of references to a top level post where more readers are likely to benefit.


    (1) take, say, over-fishing of Tuna in the Atlantic. Is there any jurisdiction and law which limits the catch outside the EEZs?

    (2) has anyone proposed a workable property rights scheme for the non-EEZ fisheries?

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