Guam – A public hearing was held Thursday morning on two resolutions appealing for a greater role for Guam in the management and exploitation of the Marianas Trench, Resolutions #405 and # 408.
Resolution #405 in particular has attracted criticism because it calls for Guam to collect fees from those who explore the trench or exploit its resources. But Senator Aline Yamashita, who introduced the resolution, defended it, saying her aim is broader, and focuses on the right of Guam to protection and manage the ocean resources that lie within our region.
Micronesian Image Institute founder and President Dan Ho, who helped Yamashita craft the resolution, took the argument a step farther maintaining that the people of Micronesia have a right to lay claim to the earnings that result from any intellectual advancements or creative products that grow out of the exploration and exploitation of the Trench.
Resolution #405, sponsored by Senator Aline Yamashita, seeks recognition of what the resolution maintains are the rights of Guam, the CNMI, the FSM and Palau to share in whatever “economic gains” result from the recent and any future exploration of the Challenger Deep within the Marianas Trench.
And Resolution #408, introduced by Senator Rory Respicio, calls on President Barack Obama to place 2 members from Guam on the Marianas Monument Advisory Council.
The Marianas Trench stretches 1,580 miles off the east coast of the Mariana islands, wrapping down around the southern coast of Guam to a point more than 200 miles southwest of the island.Virtually all of the Trench lies within the U.S. administered Mariana Trench National Marine Monument, which falls under the jurisdiction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
However, the Challenger Deep, the deepest known part of the world’s oceans, lies within the territorial waters of the Federated States of Micronesia, outside the Mariana Trench National Marine Monument and outside the juristiction of the U.S., let alone Guam.
The U.S. administered Mariana Trench National Marine Monument, which falls under the jurisdiction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.