The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, says sustainably managing the Pacific ocean is vital.
Leaders are this morning meeting for the plenary session of the Pacific Island Forum leaders summit in Rarotonga.
They are being encouraged to look at the economic potential of their ocean exclusive economic zones.
Mr Puna, who is now the chair of the Forum, says looking after the ocean while doing that is the challenge that faces island countries.
"The sustainable management of our resources must be the guiding principle. If we adopt that, then everything else will fall into place. And that should determine the extent of the exploration and the exploitation of our resources."
The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna says a maritime boundaries agreement will be signed by leaders this morning.