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Internal Waters

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Chapter Summary

South African law confirms that the South African internal waters comprise all waters landward of the baselines. The management of fishing harbours is vested in the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, who may declare which harbours are fishing harbours, and has made detailed regulations governing these harbours contained in the Marine Living Resources Regulations, 1998 (MLRR). In internal waters, foreign ships have the same right of innocent passage that they have in the territorial sea. The great majority of South Africa's exported and imported goods are carried by sea by foreign ships through the country's harbours and it is clearly in South Africa's interest to open its commercial harbours to foreign shipping. However, because South Africa has sovereignty over its internal waters, it is entitled to close all or some of its harbours to foreign ships and set conditions for access to the harbours that are open.

Keywords: fishing harbours; Marine Living Resources Regulations (MLRR); seashore; South African internal waters; South African law

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