NSC 2017: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Canada’s Submission


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Presented on March 2nd, 2017 by Mary-Lynn Dickson

Mapping Canada’s Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean: The Final Frontier

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2003 and is obligated to delineate its extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. In 2013 a partial submission was filed with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for the Atlantic Ocean which defined the extended continental shelf off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, encompassing a total area of 1.2 million square kilometers of ocean bottom.  Future international recognition of this new boundary will give Canada jurisdiction over the living and non-living resources on and below the seafloor.  At the time of the Atlantic submission Canada indicated that a future filing for the Arctic Ocean would be forthcoming.  Between 2007 and 2016 mapping the seafloor in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean was conducted, presenting unique logistical, operational and technical challenges involving the use of ice camps, autonomous underwater vehicles and heavy duty icebreakers.   The practical aspects of conducting scientific surveys in this remote, harsh and geologically complex environmental setting will be discussed, some exciting preliminary findings will be shared, and the next steps in delineating Canada’s last international boundary will be presented.



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