Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 14, 2022, 15:58

The UNCLOS (United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea) is an entity that regulates the use of the oceans and seas around the globe.

It has formulated a regulatory framework and a comprehensive regime of laws and rules governing the usage of water bodies. An Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] is an area of the ocean defined by the UNCLOS over which a specific nation has some rights.

Significance of Exclusive Economic Zones

In India, the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] is mapped by the Ministry associated with the EEZ programme India.

The EEZ is the 18th largest in the world covering Mainland India, Lakshadweep, and Andaman-Nicobar Islands Ministry of Earth Sciences Geoscientific Study of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone Programme.

The programme maps the EEZ using the multibeam swath bathymetry technology, assesses the potential of resources in the zone, and builds a database of marine geosciences for future projects.

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How does Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] Work?

The 1982 Law of the UNCLOS defines an Exclusive Economic Zone as a zone in the ocean over which a nation enjoys rights that allow using and exploring marine resources including wind and water energy generation and natural gas and oil extraction.

The country also has the responsibility to conserve the living and non-living resources in the zone under this law. This zone is adjacent to and past the territorial sea from the baseline which is generally measured with the help of official charts.

The convention is presently recognized globally as a treaty that handles matters related to the laws of the sea. It has been ratified by 164 UN member states and other parties. India ratified the law in 1995, under which it sets the limit of the territorial waters.

It gives the right of innocent passage (one that does not prejudice the security, peace, and good order) to foreign ships passing through these waters. The United States defines its EEZ under U.S. fisheries laws.

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Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] - Powers, Roles & Responsibilities

The Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of a country starts at the edge of the sea, extending outward to a distance of 200 n-mi from the baseline. It stretches into the sea ending at 12 n-mi from the baseline which means it includes the contiguous zone.

This part of EEZ gives limited control to the nation in terms of law enforcement. It can only enforce laws in areas of immigration, pollution, customs, and taxation. The territorial sea and the coast beyond 200 miles are not covered under the EEZ. Within the zone, the nation enjoys rights over natural resources and has jurisdiction over activities for reasons like environmental protection.

The Exclusive Economic Zone establishes a law of the sea, giving sovereign nations special rights and privileges when it comes to exploring minerals and resources within their respective zones.

The zones also establish limited control in terms of law enforcement within the specified zone, allowing countries control over immigration, pollution, customs, and taxation.

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FAQs on Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]

Q1. Is fishing permitted in the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]?

Yes, the residents of the country enjoying control over the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] are allowed to fish.

Q2. Which country has the biggest Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]?

The largest Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] belongs to France as it possesses several overseas territories and departments.

Q3. What is the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of India?

India has an Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of approximately 2.4 million square km.

Q4. What happens when Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] overlap?

By definition, Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] should not overlap as they are exclusive. However, countries can dispute the extent of their EEZ. The countries should negotiate and agree to maintain a maritime boundary in such a case.