Palau creates a huge marine sanctuary by transforming most of its coastal waters into a fully protected marine reserve. The small Pacific nation passed a law called the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, which classifies about 80 percent of the country’s waters as protected territories.
- Palau has declared 80 percent of its coastal waters marine sanctuaries.
- The island nation has decided to take these measures in order to protect its marine population and stop illegal fishing in its waters.
- Only 4 percent of the world’s oceans are protected up until now and research indicates more must be done to preserve them.
This, of course, means that Palau has banned fishing on almost all of its coastal waters. The residents have supported President Tommy Remengesau’s decision to protect the waters, as they recognize it as vital for their long term survival.
As an island community, Palau has felt the ill effects of the threats concerning the ocean. This has made the people of the small nation support the decision as they understand how vital it is to conserve the marine populations living in their coastal waters.
The law, which was passed last Thursday, prohibits any fishing or mining activities from taking place within the boundaries of the sanctuary. It is also meant to stop or at least limit illegal fishing activity going on in the area, by imposing stricter rules for vessels passing through the country’s waters.
To make its commitment to protecting the sanctuary clear, Palau went as far as to set fire to several vessels found to be fishing illegally in their seas earlier this year.
The 20 percent of the country’s coastal waters which have not turned into marine sanctuaries have been kept as fishing zones for local fishermen and small fishing businesses to use. Most of the fish is meant for local consumption as the small businesses that are still allowed to fish in these areas have reduced exports.
Palau’s decision comes as a response to researcher’s recently expressed concerns about the risks associated with overfishing, climate change and other factors that threaten the earth’s oceans. According to a recent study conducted at the University of British Columbia, only approximately 4 percent of the world’s waters are considered sanctuaries or under protection.
The study concludes that in order to protect marine wildlife at a global level, even by only covering the most basic global targets set in order to achieve this goal, major steps must be followed. Although one of the organizations trying to put these changes into effect, The Sea Around Us, has set a target of protecting at least 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020, it is unlikely that this goal will be reached considering it has taken the world’s nations decades to reach the 4 percent that is protected now.
Image source: www.pixabay.com