1. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
The concept of EEZ was emerged for the economic purposes of the coastal
state. It was initiated by Kenya in 1972 at the Geneva Session of the UN
Committee on peaceful uses of the sea-bed and ocean floor beyond the limits of
national jurisdiction.EEZ was enshrined in the New Convention Law of the Sea,
In Tunisia v. Libya1 it was stated that the concept of EEZ can be regarded as a
part of customary international law.
An Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea-zone over which a coastal state has a
sovereign right to explore and exploit, conserve and manage its natural
According to Article 55 of the UN Convention on Law of The Sea 1982, “The
Exclusive Economic Zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea,
subject to the specific legal regime established in Part-V, under which the rights
and jurisdiction of the coastal states and the rights and freedom of other states
are government by the relevant provisions of this convention.
Breadth of EEZ:
The breadth of EEZ shall not exceed 200 nautical miles from the base lines
from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured (ART.57 UNCLOS III
Rights of Coastal States in EEZ:
In EEZ, the coastal state has-
a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and
managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living of the waters
superjacent to the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for
the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of
energy from the water, currents and winds.
b) Jurisdiction with regard to -
1 ICJ Report 1982
2. 1) Establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures.
2) Marine Scientific Research;
3) The protection and preservation of the marine environment;
4) Other rights and duties provided for under the convention.
The coastal State may, where necessary, establish reasonable safety zones
around such artificial islands, installations and structures in which it may take
appropriate measures to ensure the safety both of navigation and of the artificial
islands, installations and structures. The breadth of the safety zones shall not
exceed a distance of 500 metres around them and due notice shall be given of
the extent of safety All ships are duty bound to respect these safety zones and
shall comply with generally accepted international standards regarding
navigation in the vicinity of a islands, installations, structures and safety zones.
Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of island
have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the
delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental
Rights of the States over EEZ:
Article 56, Para 2 of the Convention of 1982 clearly lays down that the coastal
States shall give due regard to the rights and duties of other States in exercising
their rights in the EEZ. Rights and duties of other States in the EEZ are
provided under Article 58 of the Convention. All States (coastal as well as land-
locked States) have freedom of navigation and overflight in the EEZ. They may
lay submarine cables and pipelines. In addition to the above, they have freedom
of other internationally lawful uses of the sea such as those associated with the
operation of ship; aircraft and submarine cables and pipelines.
Under Para 3 of Article 58 general restrictions in the rights of other States, As
other states may conduct marine scientific research in the EEZ. However, it can
be conducted only with consent of coastal states for peaceful purposes. Consent
should be granted in normal circumstances. But the coastal states have the
discretionary powers to withhold consent on different grounds.
3. Rights of Land-Locked states:
A Land-Locked state is a sovereign state which is enclosed by land or closed
sea. Under 1982 Convention, Land-Locked sates have the right to participate in
the exploitation of an appropriate part of the surplus of the living resources of
Exclusive Economic Zones of coastal states.
The geographically disadvantaged States shall also have a similar right. The
geographically disadvantaged States means coastal States, including States
bordering enclosed or semi-enclosed seas, whose geographical situation makes
them dependent upon the exploitation of the living resources of the exclusive
economic zones of other States in the sub-region or region for adequate supplies
of fish for the nutritional purposes of their populations or parts thereof, and
coastal States which can claim no exclusive economic zones of their own.
It is important to note that these rights of the land-locked and geographically
disadvantaged States cannot be transferred directly or indirectly to third States
or their nationals by lease or licence, by establishing joint ventures or in any
other manner which has the effect of such transfer unless otherwise agreed by
the States concerned. They will however be free to obtain technical or financial
assistance from third states or international organizations in order to facilitate
the exercise of these rights.
Delimitation of the EEZ between States with Opposite or Adjacent Coasts
The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between states with opposite
or adjacent coasts is to be effected by agreement on the basis of international
law, in order to achieve an equitable solution.
If no agreement can be reached within a reasonable period of time, the state
concerned shall resort to the procedures provided for in Part XV. Pending
agreement, the States concerned shall make every effort to enter into provisional
arrangements of a practical nature. During this transitional period, they are
obligated not to jeopardize or hamper the reaching of the final agreement. Such
arrangements shall be without prejudice to the final delimitation. Where there is
an agreement in force between the States concerned, the delimitation of the
exclusive economic zone shall be determined in accordance with the provisions
of that agreement.
4. Whether EEZ, a part of customary International Law of the Sea?
The concept of EEZ has been accepted by majority of nations, in International
Community and has been manifested in various unilateral legislations passed
and presidential Decrees and proclamations issued by the respective states. It is
enshrined in Art.55 the New Convention on LOS '82.
According to Sec.7 of the Territorial Waters Conventional Shelf Exclusive
Economic Zone and Maritime Zones Act 1976, the breadth of EEZ is 200
nautical miles. The Central Government by notification in Official Gazette may
alter the breadth.
EEZ and Continental Shelf distinguished:
Exclusive Economic Zone Continental Shelf
1. It refers to Distance of water. 1. It refers to Depth of water.
2. It relates to both continental shelf
and exclusive fisheries zone.
2. It relates only to continental Shelf.
3. It mostly extends to living
3. It extends to both living and non-
living resources in the sea.