Exclusive economic zones

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, came into force in 1994. To date, 160 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention.

It has set up a framework that permits countries to define their claims over sea and ocean areas, and provides definitions for territorial seas of 12 nautical miles, contiguous zones extending 24 nautical miles, for prevention of violation of customs, fiscal, immigration and sanitary regulations, as well as 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Within its EEZ, the country has the sovereign right to explore and exploit, conserve and manage living and non-living resources in the water column and on the seafloor.

Five of the six Black Sea coastal states have ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Turkey is the only exception. Nevertheless, it has delimited its maritime boundaries with all neighbouring countries. In 1973, 1978 and 1987 Turkey and the Soviet Union agreed upon their territorial see, continental shelf and exclusive economic zone boundary. After the dissolution of the USSR, Georgia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine confirmed the validity the USSR-Turkey maritime boundary delimitations. In 1997 Turkey and Bulgaria agreed upon their boundary. Romania and Ukraine resolved a long-standing dispute on the delimitation of the continental shelf and their exclusive economic zones through the International Court of Justice in 2009. The boundaries between Romania and Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia and Russia and Georgia are not agreed upon and are drawn on the map as median or equidistant lines.1

1 Source: VLIZ (2014). Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase, version 8. Available online at http://www.marineregions.org/. Consulted on 2014-03-15
The area of the exclusive economic zones and continental shelf are from the Sea Around Us Project