Palau Workshop To Develop Sanctuary Enforcement Strategies

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Full establishment of National Marine Sanctuary expected by 2020

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, April 16, 2015) – The Office of the President on Wednesday, April 15 welcomed experts from government, non-profit and academic institutions for a three-day session to develop a comprehensive enforcement strategy for the proposed Palau National Marine Sanctuary. In partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts and Scripps Institution of Oceanography-UCSD, the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Workshop will explore best practices and emerging technologies to create a plan to deter, detect and stop illicit activities within the sanctuary’s borders. The MDA plan will also assist Palau in being prepared for emerging environmental threats including typhoons, sea level rise, drought, and climate change. The outcome of the workshop will be a five-year path to full implementation of the plan along with a cost analysis. Enforcement costs will be covered by partner support and revenues generated by the sanctuary.

"The Palau National Marine Sanctuary will have a world-class enforcement strategy that makes use of the latest technology," said President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. "Enforcing the sanctuary’s boundaries will be less complex than the current challenges presented by the multi-gear tuna fisheries, which means it will be easier to stop criminal activities and protect our natural resources. This sanctuary protects our beautiful ocean environment and enhances our national security."

If enacted soon, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary will be fully established by December 2020 and incorporate robust monitoring and control measures to protect Palauan marine resources from man-made pollution, exploitation and illegal activity. Beginning in January 2019, Palau Marine Law Enforcement will work in collaboration with local, state, national and non-governmental organizations to conduct continuous monitoring of the sanctuary’s borders to protect Palau’s natural resources.

Early monitoring of the sanctuary’s boundaries is already benefitting Palau as seen on January 26 when Palau Marine Law Enforcement successfully apprehended a Taiwanese vessel for

illegal fishing activity. The vessel was found with 304 shark carcasses and several hundred shark fins on board, and was required to pay a $100,000 fine.

Partners in this process are particularly important as Palau plays a critical geopolitical role between the United States and the Pacific. In addition to Pew and Scripps, organizations such as the Royal Australian Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Nippon Foundation, and Pacific Islands Forum Fishing Agency are participating in today’s workshop along with various representatives from Palau and other international institutions. Securing Palau’s marine zone from criminal activity not only enhances Palau’s national security but also regional security which will benefit the regional Pacific community.

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