A select committee in the Cook Islands will now consider the Marine Resources Bill which the government says will make the country a world leader in the protection and management of its waters.
The Cook Islands News reported the bill passed its second reading in parliament last week supported by MPs on both sides of the house.
Its one of three new pieces of maritime legislation that the government says signal the Cooks is serious about fisheries management and conserving the Marae Moana ocean sanctuary.
The bill would replace a 13-year-old act adding six features to the existing law including marine reserves, a fishing quota management system and penalties.
Consultation on the bill began in 2012 and the public will now be able to make submissions to the select committee which is due to report back to parliament at the end of May.