BENHAM RISE is a 13-million-hectare undersea region that lies east of Luzon and off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora.
The formation lies within the continental shelf of the Philippines as defined by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), under which a coastal state’s exclusive economic zone extends 370 kilometers (200 nautical miles) from its continental shelf, while its extended continental shelf extends for another 278 km (150 nautical miles).
In April 2009, the Philippines went further by lodging a full territorial claim that Benham Rise was part of its continental shelf and territory.
The UN, through UNCLOS, finally recognized and officially approved the Philippine claim on the territory on April 12, 2012.
In May 2016, Oceana joined scientists from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the University of the Philippines (UP), in the 2016 expedition to Benham Rise.
A dazzling array of soft and hard corals, fish, algae, and sponges comprised some of the biological diversity documented by marine scientists the week-long expedition to Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of Benham Rise.