Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse
Chapter 8: Reconciling activities on the extended continental shelf with protection of the marine environment
As many as 80 states may be entitled to claim sovereign rights over their continental shelf where it extends beyond 200 nm from their coastline. Because the extended shelf lies under the high seas rather than an Exclusive Economic Zone, coastal states have less control over activities such as fishing that might impact on the environment of the continental shelf, and simultaneously more obligations in terms of ensuring that activities on the shelf do not negatively impact on commons areas. This chapter explores these issues and asks whether marine protected areas on the extended shelf can be used to protect the environment. The chapter also considers the extent of coastal state rights to protect its interests through unilateral acts and the advantages of international cooperation.
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