Story: Sea floor geology

The legal continental shelf

The legal continental shelf

Under the law of the sea a nation can extend its territorial claim of the ocean floor if the surrounding continental area extends more than 200 nautical miles offshore. The maximum limit of this additional area is 350 nautical miles offshore. In 2005 New Zealand was preparing a submission to extend its legal jurisdiction to the maximum limit, and this diagram illustrates the terms being used in complex legal negotiations.

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Source: Ray Wood and others, New Zealand’s continental shelf and UNCLOS Article 76. Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences; Wellington: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, 2003

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How to cite this page:

Keith Lewis, Scott D. Nodder and Lionel Carter, 'Sea floor geology - The continental shelf', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/map/5601/the-legal-continental-shelf (accessed 21 October 2021)

Story by Keith Lewis, Scott D. Nodder and Lionel Carter, published 12 Jun 2006