EEZ Dissected – Criminal Jurisdiction and Fishing Rights

EEZ Dissected – Criminal Jurisdiction and Fishing Rights

Seungmin Jung

 Under Part V of 1982 UNCLOS, EEZ of a State is defined as “an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.” In the EEZ, under Article 56, the Coastal State enjoys :

    • (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds;
    • (b) jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this Convention with regard to:
      • (i) the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures;
      • (ii) marine scientific research;
      • (iii) the protection and preservation of the marine environment;
    • (c) other rights and duties provided for in this Convention.

The question is no presented, does the Coastal State enjoy any criminal jurisdiction in her EEZ? If so, to what extent and what form? In short, for illegal activity harming South Korea’s fishing rights, South Korean authority may exercise criminal jurisdiction over Chinese fishermen. However, for example, if Chinese vessels were not fishing, but engaged in criminal activity such as transporting illegal content or participating in dangerous maritime maneuver of vessels under influence, can the coastal state exercise criminal jurisdiction?


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