Montevideo Declaration On The Law Of The Sea

Filename: 1970-MontevideoDeclarationLawOfSea.EN.txt


Source: Unofficial Text

Declaration on the Law of the Sea Montevideo, 8 May 1970

The States represented at the Montevideo Meeting on the Law of the Sea,

Recognizing that there exists a geographic, economic and social link between the sea, the land, and its inhabitant, Man, which confers on the coastal peoples legitimate priority in the utilization of the natural resources provided by their marine environment,

Recognizing likewise that any norms governing the limits of national sovereignty and jurisdiction over the sea, its soil and its subsoil, and the conditions for the exploitation of their resources, must take account of the geographical realities of the coastal States and the special needs and economic and social responsibilities of developing States,

Considering that scientific and technological advances in the exploitation of the natural wealth of the sea have brought in their train the danger of plundering its living resources through injudicious or abusive harvesting practices or through the disturbance of ecological conditions, a fact which supports the right of coastal States to take the necessary measures to protect those resources within areas of jurisdiction more extensive than has traditionally been the case and to regulate within such areas any fishing or aquatic hunting, carried out by vessels operating under the national or a foreign flag, subject to national legislation and to agreements concluded with other States,

That a number of declarations, resolutions and treaties, many of them inter-American. and multilateral declarations and agreements concluded between Latin American States, embody legal principles which justify the right of States to extend their sovereignty and jurisdiction to the extent necessary to conserve, develop and exploit the natural resources of the maritime area adjacent to their coasts, its soil and its subsoil,

That, in accordance with those legal principles the signatory States have, by reason

of conditions peculiar to them, extended their sovereignty or exclusive rights of jurisdiction over the maritime area adjacent to their coasts, its soil and its subsoil to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baseline of the territorial sea,

That the implementation of measures to conserve the resources of the sea, its soil and its subsoil by coastal States in the areas of maritime jurisdiction adjacent to their coasts ultimately benefits mankind, which possesses in the oceans a major source of means for its subsistence and development,

That the sovereign right of States to their natural resources has been recognized and reaffirmed by many resolutions of the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies,

That it is advisable to embody in a joint declaration the principles emanating from the recent movement towards the progressive development of international law, which is receiving ever-increasing support from the international community,

Declare the following to be Basic Principles of the Law of the Sea:

1. The right of coastal States to avail themselves of the natural resources of the sea adjacent to their coasts and of the soil and subsoil thereof in order to promote the maximum development of their economies and to raise the levels of living of their peoples;

2. The right to establish the limits of their maritime sovereignty and jurisdiction in accordance with their geographical and geological characteristics and with the factors governing the existence of marine resources and the need for their rational utilization;

3. The right to explore, to conserve the living resources of the sea adjacent to their territories, and to establish regulations for fishing and aquatic hunting;

4. The right to explore, conserve and exploit the natural resources of their continental shelves to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of such resources;

5. The right to explore, conserve and exploit the natural resources of the soil and subsoil of the sea-bed and ocean floor up to the limit within which the State exercises its jurisdiction over the sea.,

6. The right to adopt, for the aforementioned purposes, regulatory measures applicable in areas under their maritime sovereignty and jurisdiction, without prejudice to freedom of navigation by ships and overflying by aircraft of any flag.

Furthermore, the signatory States, encouraged by the results of this Meeting, express their intention to co-ordinate their future action with a view to defending effectively the principles embodied in this Declaration.

This Declaration shall be known as the Montevideo Declaration on the Law of the Sea.