Home > Esec scope > Publications > The extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles: an asset for France
The extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles: an asset for France

The extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles: an asset for France

Type of text : Opinion and report
Type of referral : Own initiative
Working group : Delegation for overseas territories

Rapporteur(s) :

Gérard GRIGNON
Overseas Group
Date adopted : 09/10/2013 | Period : 2010-2015

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, «a true constitution of the oceans», and more precisely Article 76 thereof, gives coastal states the possibility to extend their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. Thus, France, thanks to its Overseas Territories, can expect to expand its sovereign rights over the natural resources of the seabed and subsoil by approximately 2 million km2. With this opinion the ESEC aims to finalise the EXTRAPLAC programme set up by France in order to achieve this goal. It also aims to draw conclusions from the acquisition of these sovereign rights in terms of knowledge of the marine environment and its resources; their preservation and exploitation; the legal framework for the activities carried out by the Overseas Territories as part of their sustainable development. The ESEC recommends defining a true maritime policy that is appropriate for a country which has a presence on every ocean thanks to its Overseas Territories. The extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles is a considerable asset that France cannot ignore.