Palau is Proposing the World's Largest Marine Reserve!
The President of Palau, Tommy Remegesau Jr. , proposes to ban foreign industrial fishing in Palau's EEZ waters. Currently, there are over 129 licensed Taiwanese and Japanese longline vessels fishing in Palauan waters, plus 18 Japanese purse seiners licensed to fish.
In 2009, Palau became the world's first shark sanctuary, but commercial shark finning remains a problem in its waters; in 2012, the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Now with this new plan, the president proposes the Pacific Nation as the world's largest marine sanctuary (629 sq km).
This initiative will allow Palau to:
- Preserve its natural resources for future generation: Remengesau says; "We will do our part of making sure that there's a healthy stock of fish in Palau that then can migrate to other places";
- Improve and preserve sustainable Palauan fisheries;
- Increase and preserve shark, whale, manta ray tourism: This will enable to promote an eco tourism by focusing on the preservation and not exploitation of Palau's environment. Moreover, a live shark/manta is worth more as a tourist attraction than a dead one;
- Develop catch and release sports fishing tourism;
- Stop illegal shark finning, whaling and smuggling.
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