Students of marine affairs can easily trace the evolving process of offshore claims: the expansion of territorial sea breadths in the case of many States to four, six, twelve or even greater mileages; the claims to specialized extra-territorial zones, as for example, customs, fishing, pollution control, and neutrality; the closing off of bays, gulfs, and inter-island waters as part of the national territory; and the extension of national rights over continental shelf reprocession, and terms such as straight baselines, historic bays, and archipelagic waters have become recognized (if sometimes ill-defined) parts of the law of the sea lexicon. Now yet another concept has emerged, the 200-mile zone. Like the straight baseline and the continental shelf regimes, it began through unilateral action; like them, it gradually gained acceptance among various States, and it appears now destined to become part of the new regime of the world ocean. But its impact on the traditional freedoms of the seas will be far more pronounced than were those of its predecessors; indeed, one can safely hypothesize only some of the short-term impacts of the new jurisdiction; what the long-range implications will be is still very much in doubt.
Lewis M. Alexander & Robert D. Hodgson,
The Impact of the 200-Mile Economic Zone on the Law of the Sea,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol12/iss3/6