Continental shelf

The legal continental shelf is defined under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: ‘where not limited by delimitation with another state (country), it will extend beyond the territorial sea to a minimum of 200 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline. In some places where certain physical characteristics of the seabed are met it can extend further’.  

This differs from the geoscientific definition of a continental shelf: the seabed adjacent to a continent (or around an island) extending from the low water line to a depth at which there is usually a marked increase of slope towards oceanic depths. This increase of slope usually occurs at water depths of 200 metres around the Australian continent.