Micronesian Presidents Call On PNA To Support Palau Sanctuary

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FSM, RMI, Palau want other Nauru Agreement members to endorse efforts

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, July 20, 2015) – The three heads of states of the Micronesian countries of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) attending the 15th Micronesian Presidents Summit in Majuro, RMI have written a letter asking other members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to support Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary initiative.

The letter, which was signed by Palau President Tommy Remengesau, RMI President Christopher Loeak, and FSM President Peter Christian, was addressed to PNA members including Kiribati, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Solomon Islands. The letter was dated July 15, 2015.

The Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest, or The Nauru Agreement is an Oceania sub-regional agreement between the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The eight signatories collectively control 25–30% of the world's tuna supply and approximately 60% of the western and central Pacific tuna supply.

The three presidents said the marine sanctuary initiative contributes significantly to global and regional conservation efforts.

"This will provide a significant contribution to global and regional critical conservation goals and is critical to the long term future of Palau’s dominant industry- tourism," the letter states.

The letter also stressed that despite the marine sanctuary initiative Palau will not turn its back to other PNA members and regional fishery organizations.

The letter also asked the other PNA members to respect and endorse Palau’s move.

"Palau respectfully requests a parallel respect and endorsement of its course of action and its desire to maintain its parties allowable effort (PAE)," the letter further states.

The proposal on the National Marine Sanctuary put forward by President Remengesau includes a complete prohibition on purse seine fishing that covers 100 percent of the EEZ; a no-take Marine Sanctuary that covers over 80 percent of the Palau EEZ; a highly regulated Fishing Zone that covers approximately 20 percent of the EEZ that will provide for only Palau’s domestic fishing needs; and a prohibition on commercial fish exports.

The proposal to create a Palau National Marine Sanctuary has been introduced and pending in the Senate as Senate Bill No. 9-30. Despite strong local and international support, the measure has languished in the Palau Senate.

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