Canada’s unresolved Maritime boundaries

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The resolution of offshores boundary disputes must first be attained before managed development of the offshore region under dispute may begin. Presently, Canada shares maritime boundaries with Denmark, France and the United States. An examination of these offshore boundaries shoes that only the maritime boundary between Denmark and Canada and the boundary off the Juan de Fuca Strait between Canada and the United States offer an area of little or no conflict. The other unresolved boundaries are disputed as the states concerned hold different position regarding the delimitation of the offshore boundary lines. A negotiation or adjudicated settlement to these boundaries must consider the history, the existing legal precedents for offshore boundary determination, the customary law involved and each state’s interests, however varied they may be. It is only after careful consideration of these facts that an equitable boundary solution will be found. Without drawing conclusions on what the final boundary will be in each instance, this paper presents an analysis on each of Canada’s unresolved boundaries. In addition to presenting the historical background on each boundary and arguments for certain boundary delimitation, the urgency attached to finding a boundary agreement is reviewed and a comparison attempted with the recent Gulf of Maine decision. Overall, the paper incorporates past and present events to give a detailed analysis of the situation regarding Canada’s unresolved offshore boundaries.