Notwithstanding occasional acts of political posturing as well as media accounts of an ongoing “scramble” for the Arctic, states are asserting jurisdiction over maritime areas in the Arctic region according to the process set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This involves submitting to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) detailed geological and bathymetric data for areas of the continental shelf more than 200 nautical miles from coastal baselines. Norway's and Iceland’s submissions were the subject of CLCS recommendations in 2009 and 2016, respectively. Russia’s 2015 submission, including new March 2021 addenda, significantly extend the Russian continental shelf (a revision of its original 2001 submission) and is under review by the CLCS, while Denmark’s 2014 submission and Canada’s 2019 submission await review. The USA, although not a party to UNCLOS, continues to gather data in preparation for a submission to the CLCS.
IBRU's 'Arctic Maps' series identifies areas covered by CLCS recommendations, state submissions, and hypothetical state submissions, as well as other maritime jurisdictional zones north of the Arctic Circle. Comments and questions concerning the maps should be sent to email@example.com.
Please consult the Briefing Notes for details on the history and legal status of the various zones portrayed on the maps