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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Oct. 20) – Palau President Tommy Remengesau has asked lawmakers to ratify the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

The aim of the agreement, according to Remengesau, is to "ensure through effective management the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean."

The president said the convention was negotiated over a four-year period by members of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency and distant water fishing nations.

Palau signed the convention with other nations and jurisdictions in September 2000 and it took effect on June 19, 2004.

Under the convention, Remengesau said the parties would be able to adopt measures promoting "optimum utilization, consistent with the best scientific evidence available."

Under the convention, Palau would have to make a contribution for the operation of the commission and the estimated annual dues are US$6,300.

"Palau will need to strengthen human capacity to carry out the responsibilities. Ratification of the (Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks) will give us the opportunity to join the other small island countries to pool our resources to manage and conserve our vital resources," Remengesau said.

Palau and Vanuatu have yet to ratify the convention, he noted.

[PIR editor’s note: The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency - established in August 1979 by an International Convention to help pacific countries manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200 mile exclusive economic zones - is based in Honiara, Solomon Islands and comprises 17 member governments.]

October 20, 2005

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