a nautical chart showing the outer limit of the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Sea of Okhotsk
In 2014, the UN Commission on the borders of the Continental Shelf adopted a positive decision on the Russian application for expansion of the borders of Russia’s continental shelf in the Okhotsk Sea. As a result of this decision, the central part of the Okhotsk Sea (52,000 sq. km.) was included in the RF Continental shelf (Reccomendations of the CLCS, 2014).
Comments from the Russian side, including from Russian officials, contain the statement that since the approval of the Russian application by the Commission, the Sea of Okhotsk has become a Russian Inland Sea (Zykova, 2014).
Such statements, however, are untrue because of Russia’s existing limit of a 200-mile EEZ in the Okhotsk Sea. Russian sovereignty over the central part of the Okhotsk Sea shelf does not apply, to include the water and bioresources that are contained in therein (shrimp, shellfish, crabs, etc.) (Art. 78, UNCLOS). The legal regime of fisheries for both Russian vessels and those of other nations in the central zone is not altered by a decision of the Commission, but the aspects of cooperation between offshore energy and fishing companies that have economic interests in this part of the sea are subject to clarification (Kurmazov, 2015).