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Pacific Countries Sign Eight Maritime Boundary Agreements

PIFS29 August 2012: Seven Pacific Island Countries have exchanged a total of eight Maritime Boundary Agreements, on the sidelines of the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum, which is convening in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands, from 28-30 August 2012. The treaties are expected to provide a more accurate and secure basis for the management of the Pacific Ocean, including in the areas of fishing activity, marine environmental protection, marine research and the management and exploration of natural resources.

Seven bilateral treaties were agreed by the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu. In addition, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Nauru agreed to a tri-lateral treaty concerning the determination of a point where the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the three countries intersect. The Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) notes that although the treaties represent significant progress, more work remains, as 27 overlapping boundaries are not yet subject to treaty.

The Agreements were prepared through regional coordination by the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Government of Australia's Attorney General's Office, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. [PIFS Press Release]