Maritime zones in Mediterranean Sea- costs and benefits

A recent study on costs and benefits arising from the establishment of maritime zones in the Mediterranean Sea in accordance with international law aims to inform the debate over maritime governance in the area.

What is Mediterranean’s particularity towards maritime zoning?
Unlike other semi-enclosed seas, such as the Baltic Sea or the Black Sea, many coastal States have not claimed maritime zones that they are entitled to establish under international law. Such maritime zones include contiguous zones, so-called ‘contiguous archaeological zones’ and Exclusive Economic Zones as well a range of maritime zones (such as fisheries zones, fisheries protection zones, ecological protection zones, ecological and fisheries protection zones) that derive from the rights of coastal States to claim Exclusive Economic Zones.

What is the result?
Larrge areas of the Mediterranean remaining beyond the jurisdiction of coastal States and under the regime of the high seas raising particular governance issues.

Is it important?
The governance challenges for the Mediterranean are significant. The Mediterranean Sea is subject to very high pressure from economic activities due to the fact that it bears 30% of global sea-borne traffic (including a quarter of worldwide sea-borne oil traffic), that half of the European Union (EU) fishing fleet is active there and that its coastal population of 150 million people doubles each year during the tourist season. Growing human and economic development has resulted in increased environmental degradation. Other specific challenges include security issues linked to smuggling and clandestine migration.

Study's content in brief:
1. Analysing different scenarios through cost benefit approach. The scenarios also include not “economic” activities that necessitate a more indirect approach.
2. Reviewing of the relevant provisions of international law relating to maritime zoning as well as a description of the impacts of the establishment of such zones on specific maritime activities.
3. Classifying existing maritime zones along with a description of the current situation with regard to maritime boundary delimitation as well as other types of maritime area. The dynamic character of currently establishing maritime zones in the Mediterranean is noted.
4. Analysing the legal impacts of the potential establishment of maritime zones in the Mediterranean in terms both of international law and EU law. Environmental protection and MPAs (Marine Protected Areas), Marine Scientific Research are some of the issues examined.
5. Describing the methodology used in cost benefit analysis.
6. Cost benefit analysis extensively described for the main impacted areas (Fisheries sector, vessel source polution,marine research, open sea MPA and conservation).
7. Identifying overarching factors - Marine Strategy Framework Directive among them.
8. Presenting the synthesis of cost benefit indicators.

(Article’s Source