The French prime minister, Francois Fillon, has called for an overhaul of the French maritime domain to strengthen its legal protection.
With 11 million square kilometers, France has the second largest maritime area in the world, and Mr Fillon says its policy needs to be modernised as seabed mining has become more important.
Mr Fillon has announced that further exploration is planned off Wallis next year.
He says mineral resources have become a major issue, and France and Europe should position themselves quickly.
Mr Fillon says China and Russia have already applied for exploration permits with the International Seabed Authority.