Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

Experts gather together for PNMS workshop

Experts with diverse background participates in the three-day workshop hosted by PICRC and Stanford University here in Palau to help develop action plan on the PNMS implementation. (Bernadette H. Carreon)

Scientists, Non-governmental organizations and government representatives gathered in a three-day workshop spearheaded by the Palau International Coral Center (PICRC) to develop a research and action plan to aid the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS).

The Managing Ocean Change and Food Security: Implementing Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary workshop according to PICRC CEO is to “ bring together a multi-disciplinary team to identify current research and critical knowledge gaps in tackling the challenges Palau faces as it implements the PNMS.”

PNMS takes effect on January 1, 2020 and will close 80 percent of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to commercial fishing while designating 20 percent of its waters as domestic fishing zone.

The action plan aims to address the likely ecological, cultural and economic effects of protection of 80 percent of the EEZ and the likely effects on regional fish stocks, nearshore fisheries via effort redistribution, tourism assets what will enable Palau to capture the economic value of these benefits.

The experts would also be looking into the social and economic effects of fishing in the 20 percent and the export ban as provided by the PNMS law.

Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism (MNRET) Umiich Sengebau thanked the team in agreeing to help Palau in the implementation of the PNMS.

Umiich said that the PNMS has the potential to be an environmental policy model to other countries.

He said PNMS will also help the community have a greater local access to tuna as a way to combat non-communicable diseases and reduce consumption of coastal fish.

“Palau believes this kind of work help other countries,” Sengebau said.

Lending expertise to Palau are representatives from Standford University, National Geographic, Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Hawaii , Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), University of British Columbia and The Nature Conservancy.

The workshop outcome will be presented to President Tommy Remengesau Jr. today.  (Bernadette H. Carreon)