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DESPITE criticism and opposition on the viability of Resolution 405-31, in particular the proposal to collect fees from those who will be conducting marine exploration activities in the Challenger Deep and the Mariana Trench, proponents of the resolution, especially Sen. Aline Yamashita, moved to defend the resolution, stating “Resolution 405-31 is a statement of our island community realizing that there are resources that we have full control over and that is our land, sea, and our intellect.”
“Reactions have been interesting. What I don’t appreciate is that some say that this is short-sighted. This is not short-sighted at all, actually it is visionary,” Yamashita said as she defended the resolution.
Micronesian Image Institute (MII) President Dan Ho also provided positive testimony on the resolution. The MII recently spearheaded an education and awareness campaign, working to communicate the resolution throughout Micronesia with resource agencies, non-government organizations, and elected officials in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
Ho stated his support for Yamashita, commending her for starting a “very profound trend.” He stated: “The idea that all the islands in Micronesia share the waters and our land-based resources – and most key, are one with those waters – is one that resonates so clearly with such great relevance, that key individuals in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have more than just nodded their heads in agreement, they've actually proceeded in adopting similar versions of Resolution 405 into their legislatures and congresses."
As one of the supporters of the resolution, Ho stated: “We’ve heard the talk on the radio and print opposing the matter and mocking it. Resolution 405 is not about laying ownership claim to the Challenger Deep or the newly declared federal national monument, the Mariana Trench, even though it has been part of our national heritage as long as the Chamorro people have existed.”
Ho said Resolution 405 is about “expanding the notion of what a “commodifiable” resource is – beyond fish, fisheries, land, agriculture, and tourism – into the realm of access and intellectual property.