Reference Materials

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Law of the Sea Convention
and Other International Law Web Sites These links are to external sites.

Law of the Sea Web Sites

UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea

UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS) site index

UN Atlas of the Oceans

UN-Oceans

Overview of the Law of the Sea Convention as it Relates to Fisheries (OceanLaw ISC 2006)

Law of the Sea Convention, 1994 Letters of Transmittal and Submittal and Commentary U.S. Department of State, Dispatch Magazine, Vol. 6, Supp. 1, February 1995)

Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone of 1958. Available for download.

Convention on the Continental Shelf of 1958. Available for download.

Convention on the High Seas of 1958. Available for download.

Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources of the High Seas of 1958. Available for download.


Other Conventions and International Agreements

1954 (Hague) Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention

1970 UNESCO Convention on Trafficking of Cultural Property

1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention

1975 Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties

1980 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention

1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects

2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

2001 UN Fish Stocks Agreement


International and Intergovernmental Organizations

Arctic Council

CCAMLR – Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

CLCS – Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

FAO – Food and Agricultural Organization

ICCAT – International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas

ICSF– International Collective in Support of Fish Workers. (International Legal Instruments Relevant to Fisheries and Fishing Communities)

IHO – International Hydrographic Organization

IISD – International Institute for Sustainable Development

IMO – International Maritime Organization

IOC– Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

ISA – International Seabed Authority

ITLOS – International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

IUCN – World Conservation Union (formerly International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources)

IWC – International Whaling Commission

UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme


Trade and Environment

World Trade Organization – Trade and Environment

World Trade Organization – Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE)

Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America

Office of the United States Trade Representative – Environment Trade Sector Homepage

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

United Nations Environment Programme – Economics and Trade Branch

U.S. Free Trade Agreements


Other Resources

Congressional Research Service – Oceans and Coastal Briefing Book

Countries’ EEZs

Foreign Relations of the United States Series: State Department web site and University of Wisconsin web site

IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) provides data on maritime casualties and incidents, available port reception facilities for the reception of ship-generated waste, pollution prevention equipment required under MARPOL 73/78, as well as other maritime data related to security.

State Department. "Limits of the Sea" web site.

S. Prt. 106-71 (106th Cong., 2d Sess), Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate– A Study Prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Congressional Research Service (January 2001).

Treaties in Force for the U.S. (2009). Also available for download.

UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS). The site, prepared by the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), Office of Legal Affairs, contains the national legislation of coastal States and treaties dealing with the delimitation of maritime boundaries, as made available throughout the years to the United Nations. Whenever possible, the texts are accompanied by illustrative maps. In addition, the site contains other reference material, such as tables indicating the status of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, summary of national claims to maritime jurisdiction, etc.

UN Treaty Collection

U.S. Coast Guard– IMO Delegation Reports

U.S. EPA Office of International Affairs

U.S. Navy– Maritime Claims Reference Manual

U.S. State Department– Ocean and Polar Affairs

World Statesmen.org is an encyclopedia of the heads of state and heads of government and, in certain cases, de facto leaders occupying neither of those formal positions, of all countries and territories of the world. Subdivisions of some countries are presented including traditional polities, provinces, and states. This site also includes lists of the leaders of international, religious, and United States governmental organizations.


Bibliography of Law of the SeaThese links are to external sites.

This bibliography represents only a small selection of publications and other resources relevant to the Law of the Sea that the International Section has found useful. Inclusion in this bibliography does not constitute an official endorsement by NOAA or the Department of Commerce.

Brownlie, Ian. 1983. Basic Documents in International Law. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Churchill, R.R. and A.V. Lowe. Third Edition, 1999. The Law of the Sea. Manchester University Press.

Dromgoole, Sarah, ed. 2006. Second Edition. The Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage: National Perspectives in Light of the UNESCO Convention 2001. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Publications Flyer.

Gorina-Ysem, Montserrat. 2003. Marine Scientific Research. Transnational Publication.

Johnson, Lindy S. 2004. Coastal State Regulation of International Shipping, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Oceana Publications.

Lowe, A.V. 1976-1977. The Right of Entry into Maritime Ports under International Law, 14 San Diego L. Rev. 597.

MARPOL 73/78. 2002. International Maritime Organization, London.

Nordquist, Myron H. 1985. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Shalowitz, Aaron and Michael W. Reed. 1962. Shore and Sea Boundaries. Volume One (of Three). This volume is out of print but may be downloaded.

Shalowitz, Aaron and Michael W. Reed. 1964. Shore and Sea Boundaries, Volume Two (of Three). This volume is out of print but may be downloaded.

(Shalowitz, Aaron and) Reed, Michael W. 2000. Shore and Sea Boundaries: Volume Three (of Three). This volume is out of print but may be downloaded.

Sohn, Louis B. 1984. The Law of the Sea in a Nutshell. St. Paul, Minnesota, West Publishing Company.

Strati, Anastasia. 1995. The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage: An Emerging Objective of the Contemporary Law of the Sea. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Kluwer Law International.

U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Review of U.S. Ocean and Coastal Law. "The Evolution of Ocean Governance Over Three Decades." Appendix 6 to An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, Final Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Washington, D.C., 2004.

Varmer, Ole. 2006. Perspective Across the Atlantic: UNESCO Convention. Presentation available by download (PDF).

Varmer, Ole. 2006. RMS Titanic. Underwater Cultural Heritage at Risk. Presentation available by download (PDF).

Varmer, Ole. 2006. Protection of UCH Consistent with International Law. Presentation available by download (PDF).

Varmer, Ole. 2007. Law of the Sea and Protecting Titanic and other Deep Water Sites. Extra-territorial Protection of Heritage in Deep Water Consistent with International Law. Presentation available by download (PDF).


Other Links or Documents of InterestThese links are to external sites.

IMO 50th Anniversary. March 17, 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the convention that established the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The past 50 years have seen the adoption, by IMO, of no less than 50 international conventions and protocols, covering maritime safety and security, prevention, reduction and control of pollution (both marine and atmospheric) from ships, liability and compensation, preparedness for and response to maritime accidents, and other issues including facilitation of maritime traffic and salvage.

Presidential Proclamation 8268. National Oceans Month, 2008. White House News Release (June 2, 2008), 73 Fed. Reg. 32233 (June 5, 2008)

Presidential Proclamation 8150. National Oceans Month, 2007 72 Fed. Reg. 30951 (June 4, 2007)

UN Press Release: Secretary-General Says International Maritime Organization "Driving Force" Behind Efforts to Ensure Greener, Cleaner Shipping, in World Maritime Day Message, SG/SM/11166, OBV/647, SEA/1893 (September 19, 2007).

White House Press Release: White House Sponsors an Easter Egg Roll. In 2008, the theme of the event was ocean conservation. President Bush and the First Lady both spoke in support of cleaner oceans.

World Maritime Day 2007. Every year IMO celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date is left to individual Governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September. The day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.