FSM Appellate Court issues opinion in the FSM's most important case
POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): July 2000 - The FSM Supreme Court, Appellate Division, on June 30, ruled in favor of the FSM government, thus supporting the trial court opinion that the States are not the underlying owners of the resources in the FSM's exclusive economic zone.
The four States had sought judgment that would entitle them to the net proceeds from all fishing fees the national government collected from the EEZ, or in the alternative, that these fishing fees were income taxes that the FSM is constitutionally obligated to share equally with the State where collected.
The Court wrote, "We hold that the four states are not entitled to the net fishing fees from the FSM exclusive economic zone on the basis of ownership and that the exclusive economic zone fishing fees are not revenues that the Constitution requires the national government to share with the states."
The case has been considered to be one of the most important cases in the history of the Federated States of Micronesia, for it got to the very basic question of the national government's role in regard to the EEZ, especially in regard to control of the FSM waters beyond the states' 12-mile limits.
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