By Charles N. Ehler, Ocean Visions Consulting, Paris, France, charles.ehler [at] me.com
Concerned about the effects of rising sea level? You should be, but did you know that about half (51.3%) of the total area of the 152 coastal countries of the world is underwater already? That’s right. When the total area of each country, including its existing or potential claim to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and its total area (EEZ + land area) are compared—about half is underwater. Thirty-five countries are almost completely (< 90%) underwater already. The opportunity to gain additional jurisdiction over marine areas through extended continental shelf claims under the United Nations Law of the Sea could increase the size of the marine areas of some countries even further. This is a real challenge for marine spatial planning—and not an April Fool’s joke!
Here’s a list of those countries: