Maritime zones in the North Sea
The Convention on the Law of the Sea of the United Nations – of which Netherlands is a treaty partner – distinguishes between sea inside and outside the jurisdiction of coastal states. The North Sea entirely falls within the jurisdiction of the surrounding coastal states. The boundaries of the Dutch part of the North Sea were set out in a treaty with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom in 1958.
The Dutch part of the North Sea is also known as Dutch Continental Shelf (DCS) or Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The same boundaries apply to both, but the two concepts are associated with different parts of Dutch legislation (also see EEZ and DCS).
The area between the coast and 12 miles off the coast constitutes the territorial sea. Within this area, all Dutch laws are in force. Outside the territorial sea, only the laws and regulations apply that were declared in force for this area. Both the territorial sea and the Dutch area beyond are divided into subzones to which specific legislation applies.