Exclusive Economic Zone

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In international maritime law, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources. Generally a state's EEZ extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) out from its coast, except where resulting points would be closer to another country. Technically it does not include the state's territorial waters, so the EEZ's inner boundary follows the borders of the state's territorial waters (usually 12 nautical miles from the coast).

This concept of allotting nations EEZs to give better control of maritime affairs outside territorial limits gained acceptance in the late 20th century and was given binding international recognition by the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Part V, Article 55 states:

Specific legal regime of the Exclusive Economic Zone
The Exclusive Economic Zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.

Fisheries management is a significant aspect of the resulting control.

Disputes over the exact extent of Exclusive Economic Zones are a common source of conflict between states over marine waters. The most famous European example is probably the Cod War.


List of countries's EEZ by area

  • United States, 11,351,000 km2
  • France, 11,035,000 km2
  • Australia, 8 148 250 km2
  • Russia, 7,566,673 km2
  • Japan, 4,479,358 km2
  • New Zealand, 4,083,744 km2
  • United Kingdom 3,973,760 km2
  • Brazil, 3,660,955 km2
  • Canada, 2,755,564 km2
  • India, 1,641,514 km2
  • Argentina, 1,159,063 km2
  • Madagascar, 1,225,259 km2
  • China, 877,019 km2

List of countries's EEZ plus territories onshore area

  • Russia, 24,641,873 km2
  • United States, 20,982,418 km2
  • Australia, 15,835,100 km2
  • Brazil, 12,175,831 km2
  • Canada, 12,740,234 km2
  • France, 11,709,843 km2
  • China, 10,476,979 km2
  • India 5,559,733 km2
  • Japan, 4,857,193 km2
  • New Zealand, 4,352,424 km2
  • Argentina, 3,925,953 km2
  • Madagascar, 1,812,299 km2

By country

United Kingdom

764,071 km2 Ascension Islands 443,844 km2 British Indian Ocean Tr. (UK) 636,600 km2 Channel Islands (UK) 6,517 km2 Gibraltar (UK) 331 km2 Montserrat (UK) 8,247 km2 Pitcairn (UK)837,221 km2 Saint Helena (UK) 446,616 km2 Tristan da Cunha Islands (UK) 749,612 km2 Virgin Islands (UK)80,701 km2 total :3,973,760 km2


1,159,063 km2


  • 1,641,514 km2
  • Andaman Islands663,629 km2
  • total :2,305,143 km2


Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone, behind the United States and France, but ahead of Russia, with the total area actually exceeding that of its land territory. As per UN convention, Australia's EEZ generally extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with another state [1]. Australia has also claimed, in its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, an EEZ of 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its Antarctic Territory but has requested it not be considered, in accordance with the Antarctic Treaty[2]. Nevertheless, Australia maintains the right to explore and exploit the seabed and water column within its EEZ.

EEZ Area (km2) [3]
Heard & McDonald Islands 410 722
Christmas Island 463 371
Cocos Islands 325 021
Norfolk Island 428 618
Macquarie Island 471 837
Australia 6 048 681
TOTAL 8 148 250


  • Continental shelf : 3,191,827
  • Trindade and Martin Vaz Island 469,128 km²
  • total 3,660,955

source [4]


Canada is unusual in that its Exclusive Economic Zone, covering 2,755,564 km2, is slightly smaller than its territorial waters [5]. The latter generally extend only 12 nautical miles from the shore, but also include inland marine waters such as Hudson Bay (about 300 nautical miles across), the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the internal waters of the Arctic archipelago.


Due to its numerous overseas departments and territories scattered on all oceans of the planet, France possesses the second-largest EEZ in the world, covering 11,035,000 km² (4,260,000 mile²), just behind the EEZ of the United States (11,351,000 km² / 4,383,000 mile²), but ahead of the EEZ of Australia (8,232,000 km² / 3,178,000 mile²). According to a different calculation cited by the Pew Research Center, the EEZ of France would be 10,084,201 km² (3,893,532 mile²), behind the United States (12,174,629 km² / 4,700,651 mile²), but ahead of Australia (8,980,568 km² / 3,467,416 mile²) and Russia (7,566,673 km² / 2,921,508 mile²).

The EEZ of France covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, whereas the land area of the French Republic is only 0.45% of the total land area of the Earth.


  • Marcus Island 428,875 km²
  • Ogasawara Islands : 862,782 km²
  • Japan (Pacific Ocean Coast) : 1,162,334 km²
  • Ryukyu Islands : 1,394,676 km²
  • Japan (Sea of Japan) : 630,721 km²
  • total : 4,479,358

New Zealand

New Zealand's EEZ covers approximately 4,083,744 km&sup2 [6], which is roughly fifteen times the land area of the country.


  • Asia : 6,382,530
  • Baltic : 24,549
  • Barent sea : 1,159,594
  • total 7,566,673 km²

source [7]

United States


  1. ^  Geoscience Australia (2005). Maritime Boundary Definitions.
  2. ^  Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Submission by Australia.
  3. ^  Geoscience Australia, Australian Maritime Boundaries Information System 2001. Area of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone
  4. ^  Wildlife Habitat Canada. Canada's Marine Waters: Integrating the Boundaries of Politics and Nature.
  5. ^  New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (2005). Offshore Options.

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