Partial Submission of Canada to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding its continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean - Executive Summary

Partial Submission of Canada to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding its continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean (PDF Version, 1.85 MB)Footnote *

Canada signed the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the day it was opened for signature and ratified it on 7 November 2003. The Convention entered into force for Canada on 7 December 2003.

As reflected in article 77 of the Convention, the rights of a coastal state over its continental shelf exist ipso facto and ab initio. In this respect, the Convention mirrors Canada’s long-standing position, based on international law and state practice, as well as Canadian legislation and practice regarding the exercise of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its continental shelf. The current definition of the continental shelf in Canadian legislation is found in section 17 of the Oceans Act, enacted in 1996. This definition refers to the seabed and subsoil that extend beyond the territorial sea of Canada throughout the natural prolongation of the land territory of Canada to the outer edge of the continental margin, determined in a manner under international law that results in the maximum extent of the continental shelf of Canada, or to 200 nautical miles (M) from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend to this distance.

This is a partial submission that fulfills the obligation of Canada pursuant to article 76(8) and article 4 of Annex II of the Convention to submit information on the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured in respect of areas in the Atlantic Ocean. Information with respect to the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean will be submitted at a later date in accordance with article 4 of Annex II of the Convention read in conjunction with the decision of the eighteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Law of the Sea (SPLOS/ 183). Noting in particular article 77 of the Convention, Canada reserves the right to submit information in respect of other areas or portions of continental shelf.

This submission (PDF Version, 1.85 MB)* has been prepared as a joint effort of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the Department of Natural Resources (Geological Survey of Canada) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canadian Hydrographic Service). The Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Hydrographic Service were responsible for collecting and interpreting data as well as preparing the submission from a technical and scientific standpoint. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development was responsible for legal aspects of the submission and associated diplomatic work.

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