Australia's outer continental shelf regime
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In 2008 the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf issued recommendations predominantly consistent with Australia’s submission regarding its outer continental shelf limits. Subsequently, in May 2012, Australia issued a proclamation on the limits of its continental shelf which includes nine distinct areas which collectively cover 2.56 million km2. A substantial part of Australia’s outer continental shelf is located in the Southern Ocean, extending south from Heard Island, Macquarie Island and Tasmania, but does not currently include the outer continental shelf offshore from the Australian Antarctic Territory. This article describes key features of Australia’s submission before addressing management issues, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, and the potential for the exploitation of other marine resources. It will also consider the particular challenges associated with the outer continental shelf in the Southern Ocean, parts of which extend into the Antarctic Treaty Area and thus are covered by the Antarctic Treaty System.