Stakeholders and definition process of French maritime spaces

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Updated on 16/05/2024

Secrétariat Général de la mer (SG Mer)

SG Mer leads and coordinates work to design the Government’s maritime policy, proposes decisions arising from it and ensures the implementation of the adopted policy.

The Interministerial Committee on the Sea, chaired by the Prime Minister, thus made important decisions in 2011 concerning the delimitation of maritime spaces. The national “Maritime Spaces” programme is part of it. SG Mer provides interministerial steering and coordination. Shom is programme manager.



Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE):

The MEAE manages delimitation issues with States of which maritime spaces are adjacent to or opposite those of France, whether by bilateral negotiation or arbitration procedure.

It establishes the legal position and conducts negotiations. It submits to the United Nations (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea – DOALOS) the information required in view of publication of data on France’s maritime spaces.



En tant que service hydrographique national, le Shom dispose de l’ensemble des coAs France’s national hydrographic service, Shom has the capacity to fulfil its role as national expert and reference body concerning maritime delimitation.

As such, its main tasks include:

  • determining baselines and outer limits of the various maritime spaces;

  • drafting proposals for decrees relating to maritime boundaries;

  • participation in the delimitation process with third States;

  • production and circulation of reference nautical publications and digital data;

  • expert analysis in the field of maritime boundaries for the public and private sectors.


IFREMER is in charge of the EXTRAPLAC project, in turn supervised by SG Mer. This project governs applications for continental shelf extension beyond 200 nautical miles, submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.



Order 2016-1687 of 8 December 2016 on maritime spaces under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the French Republic defines the spaces claimed by France, in accordance with the provisions of the UNCLOS.

The process for the definition of the maritime spaces of the French Republic is coordinated by SG Mer and described in the diagram that follows.