In 1609, the celebrated Dutch Jurist Hugo Grotius proposed the Freedom of the Seas that has become an integral part of modern International Law today. By the second half of the 20th century, coastal states had started demanding offshore-fishing rights, exploitation of resources and the conservation responsibility of maritime heritage. In the First United Nations Conference at Geneva in 1958, and the second conference in Geneva, 1960, third conference in Caracas in 1973, later in Geneva and New York, the problem was discussed; but unanimity decision could not be arrived at for a long time.
According to some, the earlier doctrine of Freedom of Seas, the Laissez Faire "has been designed specifically to favour the strong countries over the weak countries, the industrialised countries over the poor, and the developed over the developing," Njenga in Payoyo (p.69), because there are inequalities in the traditional law of the sea. Hence it was necessary for the modern doctrine to adjust well with the Doctrine of Coastal State Sovereignty. Countries outside Europe feel that the present law is rather 'Eurocentric'
"The idea that beyond the narrow confines of the territorial sea, the Coastal State would retain jurisdiction and control over adjacent resources, living and non-living, as well as all economic activities conducted therein, was realised through the sui generis regime of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), ...Show more