Protecting coral reefs in a deteriorating environment

Coral reefs around the world face growing danger from a changing climate, on top of the historic threats from local pollution and habitat destruction. In response, scientists are researching new interventions that have the ...

New online tool helps communities prepare for coastal flooding

If you live along the coast, flooding can endanger lives, property, businesses, and even bring communities and commerce to a standstill. To help people prepare for and manage the effects of coastal flooding, NOAA has brought ...

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Territorial waters

Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most twelve nautical miles from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it; this sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below.

The term "territorial waters" is also sometimes used informally to describe any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf.

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