28 Nov 2007

SOPAC says seven Pacific countries have good grounds to progress EEZ claims

12:12 pm on 28 November 2007

Pacific countries are being urged to speed up work on claims for extra miles beyond their exclusive economic zones, before the deadline of May 2009.

The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission, or SOPAC, says seven Pacific countries have good grounds to progress with their claims.

Fiji, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and the Federated States of Micronesia can claim in total more than 1.5 million square kilometers of additional space beyond their EEZ the International Law of the Sea.

SOPAC Maritime boundaries expert Andrick Lal says countries cannot claim without proper study and negotiation with neighboring states on the limits of their maritime boundaries

"They have been in the process of putting in a draft for the submission. They have been going into a dialogue process, talking to each other, such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, they have been talking to each other, meeting regularly, and making sure that they complete this draft submission by the end of next year."

Andrick Lal says the complexities of scientific, technical and legal requirements make meeting the deadline a challenge.