This year’s conservation efforts top all others, and Palau creates a stunning and huge marine life sanctuary to further add to the efforts of multiple nations.
- Palau has dedicated 193,000 square miles of water to a marine life sanctuary
- That accounts for 80% of their waters, with 20% reserved for fishing
- The decision will protect the 1,300 species of fish, and 700 species of corals
- Palau will be prioritizing their tourism industry, which brought $160 million last year
The small, island nation of Palau boasts just 18,000 people in population. It’s a series of several islands surrounded by exceptionally crystal clear and turquoise waters ripped straight out of anyone’s ideal image of a beach vacation. Within them, there are thousands of different species that will now become protected.
Palau’s president, Tommy Remengesau, has announced that 80% of its maritime territory will become a marine life sanctuary for the variety of species living in their waters. That amounts to a 193,000 square miles worth of completely safe space. All activities, except tourism, will be banned in the protected regions, including drilling, fishing or dumping.
This will boost the fish population, and help the survival of around 1,300 fish species and 700 species of corals. It will compromise an exceptional effort, and a potentially terrific boost of their tourism. Visitors will have the privilege watching and viewing numerous types of marine life through the pristine waters.
As stated by president Remengesau, even “a small island nation can have a big impact on the ocean”, and the diversity may be contained. Furthermore, it will arrive with benefits for their tourism, which is now set at the highest priority. The rest of 20% of their waters will be reserved for fishing, though commercial fishing (mostly tuna) brought only $5.5 million per year.
Tourism, on the other hand, has proved itself much more productive for Palau, bringing in $160 million each year. It could be a win-win situation to divert their efforts and focus on the protected region.
This will not be the first effort from Palau to conserve marine life. The island nation was the first to ever create a shark sanctuary back in 2009, after which many countries followed. Their upcoming 193,000 square miles of protected waters will be the 6th largest one in the world. Their decision adds to the many contributions paid this year for the health of marine life.
The announcement arrives after the news of the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve, which will stand at 332,000 square miles of protected waters. This was followed by New Zealand’s marine life sanctuary that was announced not too long ago to protect biodiversity. And there are many more.
It seems that 2015 has seen to protect much more of our planet’s waters than ever recorded. Given the problems sparked by over-fishing and climate change, perhaps these efforts will help protect the marine life and maintain its beautiful diversity.
Read more about the New Zealand sanctuary here.
Image source: sportdiver.com