Marine research guidelines set


THE Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) and key partners, through the introduction of new marine research guidelines, will now be regulating those who use ocean space for research purposes.
Apart from ensuring Papua New Guinea ownership over any future marine discoveries, the guidelines also require foreign researchers to partner with a higher education institute in the country in order to build local capacity and ensure the exchange knowledge.
The guidelines set out the fees, zone areas and other specific requirements for not only the researchers but vessels as well, being used in the name of marine research.
Justice secretary Dr Eric Kwa made the announcement on Monday at the launch of three prospective research teams from Japan and China that had recently applied to conduct research in PNG waters which would be vetted by the Marine Scientific Research Council.
“Those who want to undertake research in our oceans must apply and get permits. What we have done now is launching the guidelines for permitting research in PNG,” he said.
Essentially it is a guide which protects state interests as well as the interest of the people, as the consultation process will also include landowners if a rare species of marine life is discovered.
The Maritime Zones Act of 2015 paves the way for the creation of the marine research scientific council comprising of marine researchers and a number of agencies and academics who support the committee under the leadership of DJAG.
DJAG acting director of the legal policy division Lillian Ipu said the guidelines, which were approved by the National Executive Council in December, ensured that marine scientific research in PNG waters were properly regulated and monitored.