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By contrast, at the beginning of February, in a keynote address to a United Nations meeting on”Healthy Oceans and Seas,” Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Jr. announced plans to outlaw commercial fishing across the nation’s 230 thousand square miles of ocean. The ban will take effect once current fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan and some private companies expire, when only fishing by island residents and tourists will be allowed.
To enforce the new ban, Remengesau said Palau is working with potential partners to obtain radar equipment and drones to monitor its waters. The ban is part of a plan to promote tourism by focusing on preservation and not exploitation.
The massive sanctuary, which will cover roughly the same area as France, will help aquatic life to recover from overfishing elsewhere, says Remengasau, benefiting the ocean at large and at the same time reaffirming Palau’s reputation as a haven for eco-tourists.
From The Herald Sun: “We will do our part of making sure that there’s a healthy stock of fish in Palau that then can migrate to other places,” he said.
Remengesau, a fisherman, said he has seen fish stocks dwindle and the size of fish grow smaller around his island nation. With a marine sanctuary, he said, “we will do our part of making sure that there’s a healthy stock of fish in Palau that then can migrate to other places.”
Remengesau said snorkellers and scuba divers come to Palau to see sharks, which can live up to 100 years.
The Palauan President quoted a study that said a live shark is worth $1.9 million (USD) as a tourist attraction compared to a dead shark which is worth several hundred dollars for its fins for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup.
He added that establishing “a 100 per cent marine sanctuary” will enable Palau to preserve “a pristine environment” and promote snorkelling, scuba diving and ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy.
Palau has also adopted the most restrictive law against bottom trawling. In 2012, its Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The country is also urging the UN to adopt a new goal to clean up the world’s oceans, restore fish stocks and bring some equity to resources being taken by others.
It was in 2009 that President George W. Bush designated national marine monuments that was at that time the largest marine conservation effort in history.
The three areas, totaling some 195,274 square miles, included the Mariana Trench and the waters and corals surrounding three uninhabited islands in the Northern Mariana Islands, Rose Atoll in American Samoa, and seven islands strung along the equator in the central Pacific Ocean.
Palau will now create a marine sanctuary covering an even bigger area, over 30,000 more square miles.
By Judy Molland / For Care2.com
March 1, 2014
Categories: The Good News
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