PALAU BILL INTRODUCED TO PROTECT MANGROVES GETS SUPPORT

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By Jowie Aquino

KOROR, Palau (January 28, 2002 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---A bill introduced by Senator Harry Fritz aimed at addressing the decline in Palau's mangroves areas has been endorsed by the Senate Committee on Tourism Development and Cultural Affairs.

The bill would preserve a certain percentage of these areas and impose penalties for anyone destroying them.

The committee report said: "The committee finds that the protection of our natural resources is critical to the future of our island nation. Mangroves are being cut down and otherwise destroyed for a variety of reasons."

Though the committee understood the need for development projects that may affect the country's mangrove areas, it stressed the importance of protecting the mangrove resource.

"This measure will allow for limited development within the mangrove areas, while protecting the majority of the mangroves for their natural purposes," the report said.

The traditional use of mangroves does not involve cutting down of trees, it added.

Vast tracts of mangroves have been destroyed worldwide. But there is growing awareness of their importance to fish breeding and as part of the seaside food chain, as well as protecting the coast, cutting sedimentation, and absorbing pollution.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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