Publication Details

C. H. Schofield, 'The Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries of the Pacific Island States' (Paper presented at the Proceedings of International Seminar on Islands and Oceans 2010, Akasaka, Tokyo, 20-22 January).


The Pacific island States possess limited land territory but enormous maritime entitlements. Claims to maritime jurisdiction out to 200 nautical miles offshore, and in some cases the existence of continental shelf rights extending beyond the 200 mile limit, have resulted in overlapping claims and the creation of numerous “new” international maritime boundaries. The majority of these potential maritime boundaries both among the Pacific island States and between the Pacific island States and their maritime neighbours have yet to be delimited. The paper outlines relevant claims to maritime jurisdiction including recent submissions regarding outer continental shelf limits, explores how maritime boundaries are to be delimited and examines progress towards the delimitation of potential maritime boundaries in the Pacific islands region before concluding with some preliminary thoughts on the key challenges involved in this context.