INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Canada Takes Steps to Establish Sovereignty Over

Published: Mon 31 Jul 2006 09:09 PM
VZCZCXRO6207
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #2294/01 2122132
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 312132Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3315
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 2316
RULSJGA/COMDT COGARD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 002294
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
WHA/CAN, OES/OA (SMITH), L/OES (ROACH), IO/T, EB/TRA
DOD FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
COASTGUARD FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CA EMIN EPET PBTS PREL SENV DE UN
SUBJECT: CANADA TAKES STEPS TO ESTABLISH SOVEREIGNTY OVER
CONTINENTAL SHELF
REF: OTTAWA 1904 (NOTAL)
1. (U) Summary: The GOC is taking steps to secure sovereign
rights over seabed resources that extend to the edge of the
continental shelf. On July 20 the GOC announced a C$2
million effort to identify and map the outer edge of the
continental shelf. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS), Canada has 10 years from ratification to claim
sovereignty over seabed resources to the limits of the
continental shelf beyond the exclusive economic zone of 200
nautical miles; Canada ratified the UNCLOS in 2003.
Separately, Canada has a joint initiative with the Geological
Survey of Denmark and Greenland to conduct surveys in
northern boundary waters. Canada,s effort to secure
sovereign rights may have ramifications with respect to
American and Canadian maritime boundary disputes and
exploitation of seabed resources, particularly in the Arctic
and Atlantic Oceans. End Summary.
2. (U) Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans,
announced on July 20 that Fugro Jacques GeoSurveys Inc. of
Newfoundland and Labrador has been awarded a C$2 million
contract to identify the outer edge of the continental shelf,
which refers to the natural prolongation of the continent
until the sea bottom descends to the deep oceanic floor.
Minister Hearn said that the mapping enable Canada to
establish with certainty where our continental shelf begins
and ends((and this) will give Canada undisputed
international recognition for our sovereign rights over the
seabed resources in the areas beyond (Canada,s) 200-mile
limit.8
3. (U) Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS), all Coastal States are automatically granted a
Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) out to 200
nautical miles. Under Article 77 of the UNCLOS,
approximately 50 states, including Canada, may also extend
their authority further. Provided they can successfully map
and state claim to an extended continental shelf, Article 77
grants &... sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring it
and exploiting its (i.e., the continental shelf) natural
resources8, a right, however, that does not include the
waters and resources above the seafloor. Those Coastal States
with a continental shelf that extends beyond 200 nautical
miles have 10 years from their ratification of UNCLOS to
determine its outer edge. Canada ratified UNCLOS in November
2003 and so has until November 2013 to make its claim.
4. (U) According to Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn,
Canada already enjoys sovereign rights over its extended
continental shelf in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans*an area
approximately 1,750,000 kilometers. In order, however,
provide certainty to future economic development of seabed
resources, it is important to gain international recognition
to their full extent,8 he said. Peter MacKay, Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency, added that Canada is hard to
obtain the best scientific evidence to support (its) claim to
the largest area of continental shelf.8
5. (U) Under the recently announced contract, Canada is set
to survey approximately 17,000 square kilometers of seabed
off Newfoundland and Labrador. Specifically, Fugro Jacques
GeoSurveys Inc. will collect multi-beam (multiple sonar
beams) survey data between July and September 2006.
Qbeams) survey data between July and September 2006.
Strategic hydrographic profiles will be surveyed from
southern Labrador to the Laurentian Channel, including the
Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, the Flemish Cap, and the
Orphan Knoll. Canada will also conduct northern survey work
in August 2006, using the icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent.
The UNCLOS-mapping is a joint federal government initiative
led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade, with Natural Resources Canada and Fisheries and Oceans
Canada.
6. (U) Natural Resources Canada also has a joint initiative
with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland to
conduct surveys in northern boundary waters. As part of this
agreement, a joint Canada-Denmark seismic project was carried
out in the spring of 2006 from Canadian Forces Station Alert,
located on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. The goal
was to determine if the Lomonosov Ridge meets UNCLOS
requirements for an extension of the North American
continental shelf. Ironically, in 2005, Canada and Denmark
engaged in a spirited debate over the nationality of Hans
Island, an uninhabited barren knoll measuring a half
square-mile located between Greenland and Ellesmere Island.
7. (U) Comment: The United States and Canada have competing
OTTAWA 00002294 002 OF 002
maritime boundary claims in places along the Pacific (Dixon
Entrance), Atlantic (Machias Seal Island) and Arctic Ocean
(Beaufort Sea) coasts. The Canadian effort to claim
sovereignty over the continental shelf may complicate these
on-going disputes. End comment.
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