Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Prepares To Delineate the Outer Limits of its Continental Shelf

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 20, 2009 - Back in August of 2008, His Excellency Masao Nakayama, Ambassador of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to the United Nations, submitted a proposal drafted by the FSM National Oceanic Resources Management Authority (NORMA) and secured an agreement for foreign financial assistance from the UN Trust Fund in the amount of $117,568 to contract experts to assist the FSM to put together its position paper to delineate the outer limits of FSM's Continental Shelf as required of the coastal states by Article 76 of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, of which the FSM is a party. President Mori has transmitted a resolution to the FSM Congress to approve the agreement for the acceptance of this foreign financial assistance during the 6th Regular Session of Congress to be held next week beginning on Monday, January 26th, 2009.

Currently, the FSM Constitution states in article 1, section 1 that the "territory of the FSM is comprised of the Districts of the Micronesian archipelago and the waters connecting the islands are considered internal waters regardless of dimensions, and jurisdiction extends to a marine space of 200 miles measured outward from appropriate baselines." This includes the seabed, subsoil, water column, insular or continental shelves, airspace over land and water and any other territory or waters belonging to Micronesia "by historic rights, custom, or legal title." By doing an assessment of the continental shelf, the FSM has the potential to extend its exclusive water rights beyond the 200 nautical miles by establishing the outer edge of the continental margin where the margin extends beyond this limit.

Three sites have been identified with the potential for extension beyond the 200 nautical miles limit. 1) Eauripik Rise, located in south-western Yap State; 2) the Mussau Ridge, located in Chuuk State, and 3) the Ontong Java Plateau, located in southern Pohnpei State. FSM stands to gain approximately 156,000 square kilometers from the Ontong Java Plateau, 75,000 square kilometers from the Eauripik Rise, and 26,000 square kilometers from the Mussau Ridge.

President Mori is recommending Congress approve the agreement by adopting the resolution during the Sixth Regular Session of Congress to be held next week. If approved, the FSM will contract an expert in Geographic Information Science (GIS), Mr. Scott Sweet, to do the required work and submit it to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in developing states. FSM will work in partnership with PNG and the Solomon Islands (SI) to submit a joint submission with a deadline of May 2009. This agreement will benefit all parties since PNG and SI have Geology experts that will assist with the project and FSM will provide the GIS expert, Mr. Sweet, to assist with preparing the submission. By submitting jointly, all three countries stand a better chance of having their proposals accepted and not having any conflicts in their reports.

Mr. Sweet has worked with NORMA on Maritime Boundaries and Continental Shelf projects since June 2005, and he has already held a key role in leading technical aspects of the joint submission by his active role in past workshops held on this topic. For more information about this project, please contact the Office of NORMA at norma@mail.fm.


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/