02.05.2015. POHNPEI. FSM Passes Landmark Shark Legislation

During the final hours in the afternoon of February 4, 2015, the 18th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia passed a law which amends Title 24 of the FSM Code to include the prohibition of possessing, handling and selling of shark and shark fin in all of FSM’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  With this new shark law, FSM now joins the Republic of Palau (ROP), the republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), US territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Island (CMI) in the effort to protect the declining population of sharks in Micronesian waters.

Photo: Trina Leberer
FSM’s 200-mile EEZ covers a sea area of more than 3 million square kilometers (1.3 million square miles) representing the largest single EEZ among the three eastern Micronesia countries. Combined with the EEZs of the ROP, RMI, Guam and CNMI, whose territorial boundaries intersect, with this new law, protection of sharks in Micronesia represents the largest area of shark protection in the world. This represents an area nearly the size of the continental USA.

As part of a technical working group assembled to draft this new legislation, representatives from MCT, PEW, TNC, and a local private law firm are tasked to work with a selected group of staff from the FSM Attorney General’s Office, Department of Resource and Development, the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) as well as representatives from the fishing industry in FSM. This group now aims to work with the Office of the President of the FSM to ensure that this landmark legislation is signed and enacted into law in the coming weeks.