An exclusive economic zone is basically an area of coastal water and seabed within a certain distance of a country’s coastal line, to which a country claims exclusive rights for fishing, drilling and other economic activities. The concept of exclusive economic is one of the most important pillars of 1982 conventions on the law of sea. An Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (2nmi) from its coast. The difference between territorial sea and the exclusive economic zones is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a sovereign right which refers to the coastal state’s right below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, are international waters.
Rights, Jurisdiction, and Duties of the Coastal State in the Exclusive Economic Zone:
1. In the exclusive economic zone, 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 of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic explosion and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, current and winds
(b) Jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this convention with regard to:
- The establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures;
- Marine scientific research;
- The protection and preservation of the marine environment;
(c) Other rights and duties provided for in the convention
2. In exercising its rights and performing its duties under the convention in the exclusive economic zone , the coastal state shall have due regard to the rights and duties of other states and shall act in a manner compatible with the provision of the convention.
Indian position on Exclusive Economic Zones:
The Maritime Zones Act of 1976 under section 7 provides that the exclusive economic zone of India, is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial waters, and the limit of such zone is 200 nautical miles from the baseline from where territorial waters is measured. Para (2) of section 7 has laid down the limit of Exclusive Economic Zones may be altered, after having regard to international limit of Exclusive Economic Zones, by notification in the official gazette. By the early eighties India obtained a wide Economic Zone of about 2.0134 million square km in the sea all along 7500 km long coastline. The living and non- living resources in this zone measured about two – third of country and process of trading and transport facilities navigated through this area. India has exclusive right for the purpose of exploring the natural resources with EEZ. However, the above rights can be exercised by it peacefully and without interruption by other neighboring states, only when its maritime boundary is delineated. It is to be noted that its sea borders with most of its labors are delineated except the two countries – Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the absence of any delineated maritime boundary line between India and Pakistan, a dispute arose 1987 over the KUTCH – Karachi coast. While Pakistan claims the boundaries lies along the southern bank of the creek, India claims that it lies mid-stream. So, it is desirable for two states the dispute peacefully by negotiation so that it may not flare up.
- Maritime Jurisdiction and Admiralty Law in India – Samareshwar Mahanty – Universal Law Publishing
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