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Exclusive Economic Zone: Definition As Well as the History, Boundaries, Functions, and Activities

by Widiya

Indonesia is an archipelago with large water areas and is the largest archipelago country in the world. Since most parts of Indonesia are in the form of the sea, the sea or waters are very important areas for Indonesia.

Marine natural resource is a very important aspect for Indonesia; therefore it is very necessary to determine the boundaries of the territory of Indonesia, not only on land but also in the waters. Regarding the territorial waters of Indonesia, we know what is called the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ.

The Exclusive Economic Zone is a zone of no more than 200 nautical miles calculated from the baseline. In this Exclusive Economic Zone the coastal state has sovereign rights that are exclusive for exploration and exploitation of natural and also certain jurisdictions on:

  • Manufacture and use of artificial islands, installations and buildings
  • Marine scientific research
  • Protection and preservation of the marine environment

The boundaries of Indonesian sea waters were established in 1957 when they issued the Juanda declaration which gave birth to the concept of Archipelago. In the Juanda declaration, it has been determined that the boundaries of the territorial waters of Indonesia are 12 miles from the coastline on each island up to the outermost point. But, after setting this distance limit, the rules that apply to it do not come out immediately. The rules regarding the Indonesian EEZ boundary were only issued in 1980, namely 200 miles, measured from the base of the Indonesian sea area.

This Exclusive Economic Zone is measured when sea water is receding. In this Exclusive Economic Zone,Indonesian government has the right to regulate all exploration activities and also the exploitation of natural resources at sea level, on the seabed and also under the sea, and conduct research on sources of biological and other marine resources.

In this 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, the coastal state has the right to natural resources in the sea area and has the right to use its legal policies, freedom of navigation, fly over or plant cables and pipes.

History of the Exclusive Economic Zone

There is history behind Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ. The concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone was far put forward for the first time by the Kenyan state at the Asian-African Legal Constitutional Committee which took place in January 1971 and also on the United Nations Sea Bed Committee which took place the following year.

Kenya’s proposal receives active support from many Asian and African countries. At about the same time, many Latin American countries began to develop a similar concept over the Patrimonial Sea. Two similar things have emerged effectively when UNCLOS began, and also a new concept about the Exclusive Economic Zone has begun.

That is a brief history of the Exclusive Economic Zone which is then highly regulated in state law. The Exclusive Economic Zone has a very important character, because it involves ownership of the area along with the wealth that is under the area.

Exclusive Economic Zone Limits

The Exclusive Economic Zone is a matter that is very much considered by every country that has territorial waters or the sea. One of the most notable concerns about this Exclusive Economic Zone is the boundaries and width of this zone. It was stated that the width of the Exclusive Economic Zone has a width of 200 miles or equivalent to 370.4 km. This predetermined number does not cause difficulties and at the same time can be accepted by both developing and developed countries.

The boundaries in the Exclusive Economic Zone are the outer boundaries of the territorial sea. This outside boundary zone must not exceed 200 miles of ocean from the baseline where the territorial coastal area has been determined.

The statement in this provision suggests that 200 miles is the maximum limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. This provides a provision that if there is a coastal country that wants its EEZ area to be smaller than that, then the concerned country can submit it.

On December 13, 1957, the Indonesian Government issued a declaration known as the Juanda Declaration. This declaration gave birth to the concept of Archipelago. In the Juanda declaration, it has been determined that the territorial waters of Indonesia are 12 miles from the coastline of each island to the outermost point.

And on March 21, 1980 the Government of Indonesia issued a limit of the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone which was 200 miles long, measured from the baseline of the Indonesian sea area. The Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea area of ​​200 miles from the outermost island and measured when sea water is experiencing a period of ebb.

Additional Zone Limits

Talking about the Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ, we will not be separated from what is called the Additional Zone Limit. Additional zones themselves have the meaning of sea located on the outer side of the baseline and not exceeding 24 nautical miles from the baseline. In this additional zone, state power is not absolute, but only limited to preventing violations of customs, fiscal, tax, and immigration practices in its territorial sea area. The additional zone boundary is 12 miles long or not exceeding 24 miles from the base line of its territory.

As stated in Article 24 paragraph 1 of UNCLOS III concerning the Additional Zone, a zone contained in the high seas which are connected to the coastal territorial sea of ​​the country has the authority to carry out the supervision needed to do the following:

  • Preventing violations of legislation relating to issues of customs practice, taxation, immigration and health
  • Giving punishments towards violations or regulations concerning legislation mentioned above

Then in the same article of paragraph 2, it is affirmed that the maximum width of the additional zone may not exceed 12 nautical miles measured from the baseline.

This means that these additional zones only have meaning for countries that have territorial sea widths that are less than 12 nautical miles based on the 1982 marine law convention. Meanwhile according to article 33, paragraph 2, the 1982 marine law convention, additional zones should not exceed 24 nautical miles from the baseline of the place where the width of the territorial sea is measured.

Territorial Sea Boundary

In addition to the additional zone boundaries, what needs to be discussed is the territorial sea boundary. The definition of the territorial sea itself is the sea located on the outside of the baseline and the distance does not exceed 12 nautical miles.

The territorial sea is a sea area that has the full or absolute rights of a territorial state, which includes the wealth under the sea and also the air space above it. The size of this territorial sea does not exceed 12 nautical miles. In this territorial sea also the right of peaceful crossing is recognized by foreign vessels passing over the sea area.

Regarding the cross-peace rights, according to the 1982 sea law convention, the right is to pass quickly without stopping and be peaceful and not to disturb the security and orderliness of the coastal state. So that we can know that the territorial sea is a sea area that has a very tight security problem.

Peace Right

Peace crossing will take effect when foreign country ships cross the territorial sea of ​​a country. Regarding the implementation of cross-peace rights:

  • Do not threaten or use violence that violates the territorial integrity, independence and politics of the coastal state.
  • Do not do military training and the like without permission from the coastal state.
  • Do not carry out activities that aim to collect certain information that can violate the security and order of the coastal state.
  • Do not launch or land on any boat, including military ships.
  • Do not do propaganda that can violate the security and order of the coastal state.
  • Do not load and unload commodities, passengers, and currencies that violate the rules, taxation, immigration and coastal law.
  • Do not carry out fishing activities.
  • Do not conduct research activities.
  • Do not carry out activities that cause pollution (Also read: Causes of Pollution in the Sea That You Must Pay Attention).
  • Do not conduct activities that interfere with the coastal state communication system.
  • As for submarines, all submarines that make peaceful crossings must show at sea level and show the ship’s country flag.

Those are the rules for managing cross-peace in the territory of a country. Cross-peace matters are rights for foreign vessels so it is an obligation for coastal countries to provide them. The provision of cross-peace rights by Indonesia is regulated in Law No. 43 of 2008.

Activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone

The activities in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone are regulated in Law No. 5 of 1983 article 5 concerning the Exclusive Economic Zone. Activities for exploration or exploitation of natural resources or other activities for economic exploration or exploitation such as energy generation from water, currents, and also wind in the Exclusive Economic Zone in Indonesia carried out by Indonesian citizens or Indonesian legal entities must be based on permission from the Government of the Republic Indonesia.

If these activities were carried out by a foreign country, whether a person or a foreign legal entity, it should be based on international agreements between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the relevant foreign government.

While in international terms and/or agreements, rights and obligations that must be obeyed by the parties involved in exploration and exploitation in the zone are also included, such as the obligation to pay levies to the government of the Republic of Indonesia. Meanwhile, natural resources basically have the power to recover.

However, this does not mean that these natural resources are unlimited in number. Because of these characteristics, in the implementation of management and conservation of living natural resources, the government of the Republic of Indonesia determines the level of utilization in part of the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone.

In addition, in the case of fisheries which are natural resources living in the waters, Indonesia has not been able to fully utilize all the amount of catch that has been allowed and the number of Indonesian capture capabilities. This may be used by other countries with the permission of the government of the Republic of Indonesia based on international agreements.

Coastal State Rights

The coastal country is a country that has a coastal area as the owner of the Exclusive Economic Zone. A coastal country has certain rights as a basic right of a coastal country. In article 12 of the Geneva Convention, it is said that the coastal state has sovereign rights over the continental shelf for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of its natural resources.

The rights listed in paragraph 1 of article 2 are that the exclusive can carry out activities such as on the continental shelf without the approval of the coastal state.

The coastal state only has functional sovereignty, namely special sovereignty and also needs to carry out exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf only. In this case, coastal sovereignty is very limited. This is as stated in article 2 of the convention paragraph 3 which reads “The rights of the coastal state over the continental foundation must not mean the population effectively and fictitiously”.

This means that the sovereignty of the coastal state on its continental basis is only sovereignty that is necessary to explore the natural resources that are there. Thus, this convention formally treats the pretensions of countries to place the high seas above the continental shelf which is under their sovereignty. The high seas that are above the continental shelf area of ​​a coastal country will still have the status of the high seas with the freedom they have.

Continental Platform

Continental platforms or Continental Self are essentially born through unilateral statements and through conventional means. The Geneva Conference in 1985 made provisions on the seabed which were then refined in a convention. After 1985, many countries issued laws regarding the continental shelf and made agreements based on the provisions contained in the Geneva Convention.

As a result, the Geneva Convention in 1985 on the continental shelf managed to determine in general, the same regime regarding continental shelf. This Convention has passed since June 10, 1964 after the 22nd ratification by the United Kingdom and only contains 15 articles.

The continental shelf is the sea floor which when viewed in terms of geology and Geo-morphology is a continuation of continents. Inside the continental shelf is no more than 150 meters. The continental shelf boundary is measured from the coastline to the outermost distance of 200 miles.

If there are two countries located side by side in control of the sea on a continental shelf and have a distance of less than 400 miles, then the continental boundary of each country is drawn equally far from the baseline of each country. Here, the state’s obligation is not to disturb peaceful shipping traffic within the continental shelf boundary.

Exclusive Economic Zone Function

From various explanations and history as well as matters relating to the Exclusive Economic Zone, it is well known that this Exclusive Economic Zone is very important for countries in the world. Actually why is the Exclusive Economic Zone so important? This must be the reason. Yes, this function or benefit of the Exclusive Economic Zone is of course to reinforce the boundaries of countries in the territorial waters so that the state assets in the region cannot be exploited by other parties.

High Seas

Talking about the Exclusive Economic Zone will not be separated from the name of the ocean or sea. This is indeed the Exclusive Economic Zone which is the regulation of the sea area of ​​a country. It is customary law that the sea is divided into several zones. The zone located farthest from the coast is called the open sea. In article 86 of the UN Convention concerning the law of the sea, it is stated that “The high seas are all parts of the sea which are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the interior waters of a country, or in island waters of an Archipelago.”

Referring to this definition, the high seas are located outside the Exclusive Economic Zone and are not included in it. And the legal principle governing the regime on the high seas is the principle of freedom. However, this principle of freedom must still be complemented by surveillance measures so as not to negate the principle of freedom itself.

The principle of freedom of the sea is regulated in article 87 of the UN Convention. Freedom on the high seas means that the high seas can be used by any country. According to the article, this freedom includes:

  • Freedom of sailing
  • Freedom to install cables and also pipelines, in compliance with the provisions of chapter VI of the convention
  • Freedom to fly
  • Freedom to catch fish subject to the requirements listed in sub-chapter II (Also read: 15 Importance of Marine Fisheries Management)
  • Freedom to build artificial islands and other installations that are permitted under international law subject to chapter VI
  • Freedom to do scientific research, subject to chapter VI, and also chapter XIII

That is some kind of freedom given to countries in the world that apply in the high seas. This freedom means that no country can subjugate any activity on the high seas under its sovereignty, and also the high seas can only be used for peaceful purposes as stipulated in articles 88 and also 89 of convention.

Surveillance on the High Seas

It has been stated that even though the rights have been granted in the high seas in the form of the principle of freedom, they must still be monitored. Supervision in the high seas is considered important to be able to guarantee the freedom of use of the sea. Surveillance in the high seas is carried out by warships. The supervision in the high seas is divided into two, namely general supervision and special supervision.

  • General Supervision

General supervision is the usual supervision, inspection, and also violence postings which aim to ensure the general security of sea traffic.

  • Special Watch

Unlike general publicity, there are various types of special supervision, including:

  1. Eradication of the slave trade
  2. Eradication of pirates
  3. Supervision to protect submarine cables and pipes
  4. Surveillance of fishing
  5. Eradication of sea pollution
  6. Supervision for the personal interests of countries

Those are some of the things about EEZ that were targeted by supervision on the high seas. Hopefully this information will be useful for you.

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