Dalhousie Law Journal


Exclusive Economic Zone, future enforcement, Canadian perspectives, (UNCLOS III), common heritage


Canada's declaration of a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the forefront of a rush by coastal states to stake their claims to the resources of the seas and the extension of coastal state jurisdiction was considered by some to be pre-empting the outcome of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, (UNCLOS III). It is certainly contrary to the call of Ambassador Arvid Pardo in 1967 before the General Assembly of the United Nations, seeking the reservation of the sea-bed and its resources beyond the recognized boundaries of state jurisdiction as "the common heritage of mankind". However, Canada's claims and extension of jurisdiction are unique in the method of implementation and as a study for modalities of enforcement of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Examination of Canada's unilateral actions shows that they are still in keeping with her policies in the development of a Law of the Sea Treaty in UNCLOS III, but implemented through effective diplomacy as a prelude to unilateral action and an alternative to possible enforcement conflicts. The outcome of a treaty being still conjectural, it is the purpose of this paper to examine Canada's successes and problems in enforcement of the Exclusive Economic Zone as a model for the future of the EEZ in international law in the event of failure of UNCLOS III to develop a final Treaty. 1 From the Canadian approach lessons and conclusions can be drawn showing a smoother path to the resolution of problems which would beset the r6gime of the EEZ were it left to a world community divided by its conflicts and pursued by extremes of unilateral action.