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Public Lands and Resources Act


Published: 1966-01-01

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Public Lands and Resources Act
TITLE 9 – PUBLIC LANDS AND RESOURCES
CHAPTER 1 - PUBLIC LANDS
sRepublic of the Marshall Islands
Jepilpilin Ke Ejukaan
PUBLIC LANDS AND RESOURCES ACT
Arrangement of Sections
Section Page
§101. Short title. .............................................................................................................................. 3
§102. “Public land” defined. ......................................................................................................... 4
§103. Rights in areas below high watermark. ............................................................................. 4
§104. Grant of public lands in exchange for use of privately owned lands. .......................... 6
§105. Title to land-filled and land reclaimed from marine areas. ............................................ 6
TITLE 9 – PUBLIC LANDS AND RESOURCES
CHAPTER 1 - PUBLIC LANDS
sRepublic of the Marshall Islands
Jepilpilin Ke Ejukaan
PUBLIC LANDS AND RESOURCES ACT
AN ACT to establish procedures for the administration of public lands and for
related matters.
Commencement: Not Specified
Source: TTC 1966
Amended By: 67 TTC 1970 67 TTC 1980 P.L. 2008-2
§101. Short title.
This Chapter may be cited as the “Public Lands and Resources Act.”
§101A. Interpretation.
In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Adjoining land” refer to the land adjacent, abutting or
connected to, and, or share a land boundary with a reclaimed
land;
(b) “Land-fill” means any new land created in the manner
described in paragraph (c) below and includes lands reclaimed
from in-land ponds and lakes;
(c) “Land reclaimed from Marine areas below the ordinary high
water mark” or “reclaimed lands” refer to new land created
where there was once water, by land fill, or through other land
reclamation processes, and which adjoin a beach frontage or
foreshore, or share a land boundary with an existing land;
(d) “Marine area below the ordinary high water mark” refers to
area that is usually submerged at mean high tide and is
located seaward of the ordinary high water mark;
(e) “Ordinary high water mark” is that mark that will be found
by examining the sand or rocks on the beach frontage and
foreshore and ascertaining where the presence and action of
waters are so common and usual, as to mark upon the sand or
rocks a character distinct from that of the abutting land.[§101Ainserted by P.L.2008-2]
§102. “Public land” defined.
Public land is defined as land situated within the Republic which was
owned or maintained by the Japanese government during the Japanese
administration of the islands presently comprising the Republic, as
government or public land, and such other lands as the government of the
Republic has acquired or may hereafter, acquire for public purposes. [TTC1966, §925; 67 TTC 1970, §1; 67 TTC 1980, §1, modified.]
§103. Rights in areas below high watermark.
(1) That portion of the law established during the Japanese
administration of the area which is now the Republic, that all marine
areas below the ordinary high watermark belong to the government,
is hereby confirmed as part of the law of the Republic, with the
following exceptions:
(a) Such rights in fish weirs or traps (including both types erected
in shallow water and those sunk in deep water) and such
rights to erect, maintain and control the use of these weirs or
traps as were recognized by local customary law at the time
the Japanese administration abolished them, are hereby
reestablished; provided, that no weirs or traps or other
obstruction shall be erected in such locations as to interfere
with established routes of water travel or those routes which
may hereafter be established.
(b) The right of the owner of abutting land to claim ownership of
all materials, coconuts, or other small objects deposited on the
shore or beach by action of the water or falling from trees
located on the abutting land, and such fishing rights on, and in
waters over reefs where the general depth of water does not
exceed four feet at mean low water as were recognized by
local customary law at the time the Japanese administration
abolished them, are hereby reestablished where such rights are
not in conflict with the inherent rights of the government as
the owner of all marine areas below the ordinary high
watermark; provided however, that this Section shall not be
construed to apply to any vessel wrecked or stranded on any
part of the reefs or shores of the Republic.
(c) The owner of land abutting the ocean or lagoon shall have the
right to fill in, erect, construct and maintain piers, buildings, or
other construction on or over the water or reef abutting his
land and shall have the ownership and control of such
construction; provided, that said owner first obtains written
permission of the Chief Secretary before beginning such
construction.
(d) Each of the rights described in Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of
this Subsection (1) are hereby granted to the person or group
of persons who held the right at the time it was abolished by
the Japanese administration, or to his or their successor or
successors in interest. The extent of each right shall be
governed by the local customary law in effect at the time it
was abolished.
(e) Nothing in the foregoing Paragraphs of this Subsection (1)
shall withdraw or disturb the traditional and customary right
of the individual land owner, clan, family or municipality to
control the use of, or material in, marine areas below the
ordinary high watermark, subject only to, and limited by, the
inherent rights of the Government of the Marshall Islands as
the owner of such marine areas. The foregoing Paragraphs of
this Subsection (1) shall create no right in the general public to
misuse, abuse, destroy or carry away mangrove trees or the
land abutting the ocean or lagoon, or to commit any act
causing damage to such mangrove trees or abutting land.
(f) Any legal interest or title in marine areas below the ordinary
high watermark specifically granted to an individual or group
of individuals by the Republic or any previous administering
authority, or recognized as a legal right or rights, shall not be
affected by this Section.
(2) Written notice of any legal interest or title must be filed with the land
office within two (2) years from January 8, 1958. The validity of the
claimed legal interest or title shall be determined by the land officer
after notice to the person making the claim or any other known
parties in interest, and an opportunity for hearing, in the same
manner and with the same rights of appeal as in the case of claims to
land which the government had possession of under claim of
ownership. [TTC 1966, §32; 67 TTC 1970, §2; 67 TTC 1980, §2, modified.]
§104. Grant of public lands in exchange for use of privately owned lands.
Public lands not reserved for other purposes may be granted by the Cabinet
in payment or exchange for the use and occupation of privately owned
lands within the Republic by the government of the Republic. The Chief
Secretary is authorized, subject to the approval of the Cabinet, to designate
areas of public lands within the Republic subject to disposal under the
provisions of this Section. [TTC 1966, §990; 67 TTC 1970, §3; 67 TTC 1980]
§105. Title to land-filled and land reclaimed from marine areas.
Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, title to new land
created through “land-fill” or other land reclamation processes, from marine
areas below the ordinary high water mark, by the government, or by any
other person, corporation or other legal entity, for any purpose whatsoever,
shall vest in the owners of the adjoining land or lands. [§105 inserted by P.L. 2008-2]