Ocean boundaries redrawn

(Note: Does this statement bother anyone, I hope? "A group of ocean mappers at the University of New Brunswick are redrawing the world's oceans under new rules set by the United Nations, divvying up trillions of dollars worth of natural resources in huge chunks of the sea floor." If that doesn't do it, how about this: "Expert Member: United Nations Special Working Group to advise the UN Law of the Sea Secretariat on scientific problems arising from the Draft Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1978.")

January 29, 2003

CBC Moncton

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P.O. Box 950

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SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick, Canada A group of ocean mappers at the University of New Brunswick are redrawing the world's oceans under new rules set by the United Nations, divvying up trillions of dollars worth of natural resources in huge chunks of the sea floor.

Countries have six years to make the case for where their boundaries should be, creating what UNB mapper David Monahan calls the largest land grab in human history.

Monahan is the head of Canada's ocean mapping program, and he splits his time between Ottawa and the Ocean Mapping Group at the University of New Brunswick.

He and others at the University are responsible for charting the boundaries of the continental shelf and with that the extent of Canada's boundaries.

Canada will stake a claim to all of the Grand Banks, and vast swaths of the Arctic Ocean.

"I think of it as the world ocean being divided up by this treaty, that's two-thirds of the world surface it's almost mind boggling to think of how big it is the area we're thinking of for Canada is about 17 times the size of the province of New Brunswick."

Twenty per cent of the world's oil and gas is in the sea floor and Monahan points out there are even resources we can't tap into, like frozen methane.

"The amounts of methane we know about is probably enough to run the world for 80 to 100 years."

With all that at stake, Monahan predicts the claims will lead to international disputes with Russia and Denmark over the Arctic Ocean and with the United States off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

That's why Monahan says Canada will spend $60 million in the next six years on the project.

Copyright CBC 2003

http://nb.cbc.ca/template/servlet/View?filename=nb_mapunb20030129

Additional information:

David Monahan's Personal Page

Director, Ocean Mapping

Canadian Hydrographic Service

615 Booth St.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0E6

613-992-0017; secretary: 613-995-4666

Fax: 613-996-9053

monahand@DFO-mpo.gc.ca

Member, Ocean Mapping Group. Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, University of New Brunswick

P.O. Box 4400

Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3

506-453-5147

Fax: 506-453-4943

B.Sc., Dalhousie, MA, Carleton

Research Interests:

Law of the Sea implementation, with emphasis on the continental shelf

Hydrographic standards and accuracy

Hydrography management and efficiency

Bathymetric mapping

Arctic Ocean Physiography

Related Positions:

Editor, Marine Science Papers, a joint publication of the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Geological Survey of Canada, 1970 - 1980

Original member, Advisory Committee on Undersea Feature Names, 1971-1978

President, Ontario Institute of Chartered Cartographers, 1975-1977

First Treasurer and Founding Member, The National Commission for Cartography, 1976-1977

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, Carleton University, 1976-1986,

Vice Chairman, Guiding Committee General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, (GEBCO), a joint project of the International Hydrographic Organization and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, 1976-Present

Canadian Representative, International Cartographic Association, Commission for International Standards for Thematic Maps, 1976-1982

Cartographic Editor, The Canadian Surveyor, 1977-1987

Expert Member: United Nations Special Working Group to advise the UN Law of the Sea Secretariat on scientific problems arising from the Draft Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1978.

Associate Editor, Lighthouse, 1979- Present

Editorial Board Member, International Geological and Geophysical Atlases of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, UNESCO, 1980-1990

Canadian Representative, International Cartographic Association, Commission for Marine Cartography, 1982-1992

http://www.omg.unb.ca/~dmona/