Essay: Maritime Delimitation

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Maritime Border Delimitation

Maritime boundaries have been debated, discussed and litigated for centuries. Despite this the majority of maritime boundaries are not delineated or set by any enforceable means as maritime boundaries lay in what is considered a no-man's land, within reason of coastal borders.

For the most part nations have assumed the right of the waters within a few miles of their shores and any more than this was considered excessive. The maritime space outside this flexible boundary is therefore a type of no-mans-land (which is not land at all) that rules do not penetrate, despite the desire by many to create enforceable rules and regulations regarding personal property use, abuse and resource allocation.

The reason this lack of delineation is problematic relates mostly to issues of security and resource use. Yet, creating and then enforcing such borders can be a political nightmare, even if doing so is thought by some to be for the good of all.

Negotiations, where they occur, for the development of understood maritime use and control borders and boundaries are done between many entities, all of whom have different goals and ideologies regarding maritime use and rights.

This work will discuss the various reasons why maritime border establishment is essential while simultaneously discussing the need to make such border negotiations incorporative of a multi-use and functional space that meets the needs of many, while still allowing for some exclusive rights of use and more importantly rights of security enforcement.

Maritime security, in the age of increased piracy, human trafficking, arms and other smuggling, terrorism and globalization in general will likely become one of the most important issues of the modern world.

Resources

Costal nations frequently seek maritime borders as a way in which to control offshore resources. These nations seek to reap the benefits of an ever broadening resource pool that includes fishing and living resources, recreation and tourism resources, maritime residency, treasure and historical exploration, trade resources, and energy and material resources.

The control associated with these resources is not simply the control needed to glean profit from resources but can also be in the name of enforceable environmental conservation.

As more and more becomes known about all these areas of maritime utilization these issues will likely become more rather than less complicated and seeking enforceable maritime boundaries will also increase in importance.

This is one of the primary reasons why enforceable maritime boundaries should be sought today, before the tug and pull of different uses increases even more.

Fishing

Fishing is of course one of the primary resource issues with regard to maritime boundaries but fishing can take several forms. Fishing for individual subsistence is entirely different than commercial mass fishing of any given species. While in some cases individual subsistence fishing can do environmental harm, mass commercial fishing, for the most part is the greater threat to resources and is also a greater pull for secure maritime boundaries as such fishing when done with or without the environment in mind is mindful of economic growth and gain.

Commercial

Commercial fishing in most regions of the world is highly controlled via means other than maritime border security, as quotas and season lengths determine the quantity of the particular species the haul is allowed to take.

This is not to say, that controls are at all universal or that there is agreement between nations regarding this issue. Maritime borders and enforcement of them would likely aide in the development of a more universal control of commercial fishing and help the industry and conservationists come to terms with the development of living resource management in the international arena.

Individual Subsistence/Recreation

Individual recreation and subsistence fishing in addition to recreational fishing are difficult to control but are controlled to some degree with fishing regulations and game tags, in much the same way as land-based living resources are controlled. Maritime border enforcement has become a particularly tricky area of concern particularly for indigenous international subsidy fishing and particularly in areas where land masses and fishing grounds lie close to one another, such as in the case of Indonesia and Australia and in the majority of the Asian region and even Alaska and Russia.

It is in this area that negotiations must tread carefully, as what is noted by Indonesian subsistence fisherman, borders are not clear on water and confusion is a continual confrontation as enforcement of Australia's maritime borders has seriously challenged many of these individuals and to some degree taken away their only means of economic survival.

Recreation/Tourism/Residency

The development of maritime borders may also curtail or create greater control over recreation, tourism and maritime residency, yet for the most part many involved in these industries and adventures are willing to support such means as long as it means greater personal and overall security and safety.

Commercial recreation, particularly the cruise industry but also smaller individual travelers have been highly affected by lack of security and safety on the seas and would welcome more control, even if this means accepting additional rules and regulations or even enduring more boarding by security professionals and the like to ensure that their physical and material well being be greater.

Treasure Seeking/Maritime Archeology

Treasure seeking brings up a whole myriad of issues regarding maritime borders, as this area is not only highly contested from a border standpoint but also from a preservation and national historical ownership standpoint. As it stands today treasure seekers must follow the rules of current maritime borders and materials they collect are often subject to at the very least reporting but sometimes historically significant materials are also subject to confiscation. There is also a great deal of concern about such issues with regard to original vs. place possession ownership of items of both material value and historical value.

It is not the least bit uncommon for significant finds to face lengthy and costly legal battles to ensure the development of fair distribution of a find.

More clear maritime borders would likely result in not only greater enforcement of historical preservation laws and issues but might also curtail some of the more difficult and lengthy legal battles.

Legal Legitimate Trade

Legitimate and legal trade is probably the area with the most historical claim to maritime laws and enforcement of them.

This is not to say that there have not been significant and historically litigious developments to create and enforce precedence over such laws and doings, but it is also clear that this area has the most to gain and possibly lose from maritime border delineation. Legitimate trade also has a lot to gain from security issues associated with maritime border delimitation. One can see with very little effort that trade vessels are the most common on the high seas and often must travel the largest distances to receive and deliver international cargo.

In doing so they interact more with regional and international maritime trade laws and have many of their own, via origin-based laws, international foreign laws and via the tradition of maritime trade laws and standards.

Many legitimate trade companies in fact are the strongest advocates for the development of maritime borders, even though they are clear on the fact that such borders might curtail or challenge trade more than it already is, again these stakeholders seek clarity and greater security.

Energy and Material Resources

One of the most hotly contested issues with regard to maritime border delineation is the development of offshore resources, other than living resources which have already been discussed. Offshore drilling for oil and natural gas as well as alternative energy source production, offshore mineral acquisition and even someday contests over the water itself and a resource will likely continue to be an integral part of the issues of maritime borders.

The oil and natural gas industries are the loudest voices in this process but as alternative energy development continues and begins to recognize the manner in which offshore development can impact energy needs of the world they will also likely become advocates for maritime border delineation, as allocating and then placing movable and static resources for the purpose of obtaining energy is costly and needs to be done with forethought and reason.

In addition another advocate for the creation of reasonable marine border delineation, in the future may be advocates for the utilization of the water itself, as desalination technology increases in sophistication and use and as more and more population growth and urbanization creates the need for more fresh water these advocates will likely seek greater control and knowledge of the use of the sea.

Many would assume that most of these industries and technology stakeholders would seek deregulation, so they may obtain resources from wherever they might wish to, and yet the reality that most have been painfully led to is an internationally litigious society where cost of legal clarity becomes greater than it would be if they had, had specific and clear regulations of maritime borders and use rights from the very beginning. "Even though the economic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Maritime Delimitation.  (2009, June 12).  Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/maritime-delimitation/934636

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"Maritime Delimitation."  12 June 2009.  Web.  17 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/maritime-delimitation/934636>.

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"Maritime Delimitation."  Essaytown.com.  June 12, 2009.  Accessed June 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/maritime-delimitation/934636.