003 - Ocean Ownership

Factual Question

Who owns the oceans?

Key Terminology

            • Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

We will be defining the term above during the lesson but if you are still unsure use the 'Useful Link' below:


Useful Link

Activity One - Create

For this activity you are going to be asked to create a guide by hand to outline who owns what 'bit' of the ocean. Collect a piece of A4 paper and a set of coloured pens to help you present this guide. You will need to include the following in your guide:


      1. What is the Exclusive Economic Zone? How is it governed?
      2. How do nations zone their section of the ocean?
      3. What are the high seas?
      4. What is the law of the sea?
      5. Using Image One for information, is there anything surprising about who owns which part of the ocean?
      6. Who owns the area around the Ascension Islands? Why might this ownership become controversial?

Activity Two - Sustainable Development Goals

It is clear from Activity One that while the oceans are perhaps seen as 'International Water' and no one owns it in reality countries have a huge impact on how their use. While the EEZ is a global agreement the Sustainable Development Goals help to transcend the idea of national ownership to the fact that we are all responsible for the impact we are having on the ocean environments. Even here in Switzerland, as a land locked country, we are impacting the quality of the ocean water, the habitats it contains and the resources we demand from it. Therefore, the United Nations Sustainbale Development Goals are vital to transcend traditional ownership laws to encourage all to behave responsibly towards our oceans.


      1. Click on the link in the 'Useful Resource' box and decide on which goals relate to the protection of the oceans. Write the name of the goal(s) down on lined paper.
      2. Describe what the goal is and what they hope to achieve.
      3. Choose two of the 'Goals in the Action' about conservation of the ocean and write a summary of each of what is being done and whether it is being achieved or not.