Tag: rights of coastal states

Nature of Continental Shelf Rights under International Law

A continental shelf is the edge of a continent that lies under the ocean. It extends from the coastline of a continent to a drop-off point called the shelf break. These occupy about 7% of the area of the world’s oceans but their economic importance is significantly greater. Therefore, shelf seas are of national importance not just in the geographical sense, but also in the legal, social and economical arena. As a consequence, there has been a need for the development of natural resources of the continental shelf without being detrimental to competing policies. Ergo, these have been included under International law which confirms each coastal state’s right to explore and exploit the natural resources of its continental shelf both through treaty and customary usage.