Palau weighs up cost of banning foreign trawlers; Fiji conference beckons
The MPA News is a regular and very word-heavy newsletter with usually at least newsy story to interest those not excited by the remaining policy-driven interviews (some would call them ‘boring but important’).
This piece from the latest newsletter looked at Palau’s plan to ban foreign commercial fishing from their Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles from a country’s coast), a strategy that will deprive the country of license revenue but boost the local fishery and of course the sustainability of fish populations for the long-term.
Earlier this year, President Tommy Remengesau of Palau announced he intends to ban foreign commercial fishing throughout his nation’s 604,000-km2 EEZ. A study group is now examining the “total marine sanctuary” proposal, as it is known. The examination will include how the large protected area would be financed.
Like Kiribati and other Pacific Island nations, Palau generates revenue from the sale of commercial fishing licenses to foreign tuna vessels. The closure of Palau’s EEZ to foreign commercial fishing would result in a loss of fishing license revenue. Umiich Sengebau, Palau’s Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism, told MPA News the marine sanctuary study group is exploring all possible options for offsetting that revenue loss, including conceivably a reverse fishing license mechanism like PIPA’s.
That being said, Palauan waters are not as tuna-rich as other nations in the region, and as a result Palau is not as dependent on fisheries revenue as Kiribati and others. Palau has focused instead on other revenue sources, particularly the use of environmental protection as a lure for foreign tourism.
This led Palau to designate its waters as a shark sanctuary in 2009.
In a speech in Monaco this year, President Remengesau said, “People have started to equate Palau with sharks. Palau has effectively cornered the market on seeing sharks. This is only the beginning of what the protection of apex predators can accomplish for us.”
An article on the total marine sanctuary plan, as well as Palau’s new initiative to test the use of drones to enforce its shark sanctuary, is at http://bit.ly/totalmarinesanctuary
On another note, I’ve signed up to volunteer at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in Fiji in December.
A uni lecturer (written about previously for her efforts in promoting seaweed cuisine) helped to initiate contact with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, which saw my previous PR and journalism experience as a useful addition to their conference team.
Should be a fascinating experience, as well as chance to explore more of Fiji in between long days at the conference!
Posted on July 25, 2013, in activism, conservation, exploration, fun, sea life, sharks and tagged conservation, fiji, fisheries, marine, oceans, palau, policy, sharks, trawler. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.