The Seaward Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the Arctic Ocean: Legal Framework and State Practice

In L.C. Jensen and G. Hønneland (eds), Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015, pp. 227-246.

This book chapter is about the establishment of continental shelf limits beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean, focusing on the legal framework of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Following a brief introduction to the Convention’s legal framework for the continental shelf, two issues in particular are examined. First, emphasis is placed on the definition of the continental shelf in Article 76 of the Convention, including key legal issues related to the application of this provision to the central Arctic basin seabed. Second, the status of the domestic implementation by various states on setting the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic is reviewed. The chapter also provides some reflections regarding potential maritime delimitations between neighbouring states beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean.