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Copyright (c) 1993 The American Society of International Law
American Journal of International Law

DECISION: INTERNATIONAL ARBITRAL DECISIONS

July, 1993

87 A.J.I.L. 452

Author

Keith Highet *

Excerpt

DELIMITATION OF THE MARITIME AREAS BETWEEN CANADA AND FRANCE. 31 ILM 1145 (1992).
Court of Arbitration, June 10, 1992.

This arbitration between Canada and France involved the maritime delimitation of the continental shelf and fisheries zones between Canada and two small French islands lying only a few miles off the southern coast of Newfoundland. 1 The general geographical framework was one of considerable complexity, as shown on map 1 at right. 2

There was no controversy about the question put to the court of arbitration, which was asked to draw a single line of delimitation for both the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone between the Canadian coast and the French islands. 3 Yet the positions of the parties were far apart. Although they were in substantial agreement about the identification of the relevant area, they did not agree on the identification of the relevant coasts or the relative lengths of those coasts. And while both parties found a substantial disparity in overall coastal lengths, they did not agree on its actual extent. 4

In seeking to limit the maritime areas to be attributed to the French islands, Canada argued that the principle that gave limited effect to the Channel Islands in the 1977 Anglo-French arbitration 5 should govern and that St. Pierre and Miquelon should be enclaved in a similar manner, since the greater landmass of Nova Scotia diminished the "relative reach" of the far smaller island coasts. In addition, Canada argued ...
 
 
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