Continental Shelf Extension
The Continental Shelf Extension, foreseen in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, aims to increase the maritime territory under the jurisdiction of Coastal States. This results from the interpretation and application of legal concepts, through the acquisition of technical-scientific data (Hydrography, Geology and Geophysics) that allow defining the limit of Portugal's continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles measured from the coastline.
Understanding the Continental Shelf Extension Project (PEPC) is a challenge especially for the students and university communities, since sciences such as geology or physical geography categorize the continental shelf in a more restricted sense. In fact, the concept of Continental Shelf has different interpretations depending on the discipline in which it is considered.
In the field of earth sciences, the continental shelf corresponds, essentially, to the submerged part of the continents. In general, it concerns the portion of the seabed that begins at the coastline, which descends with a gentle slope to an average depth between 200 and 300 meters, in the transition with the continental slope.
Under international law, the continental shelf of a coastal State, as provided for in paragraph 1 of article 76 of the Convention, “(...) comprises the bed and subsoil of submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea , over the entire extension of the natural extension of its terrestrial territory, up to the outer edge of the continental margin or up to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the width of the territorial sea is measured, in cases where the edge continental margin does not reach that distance ".