The world’s eyes turn to bountiful atolls full of guts and promise

Palau lures tourist dollars with its treasured riches

SEVERAL countries are now picking up what Palau has started.
AS early as 2013, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has proposed to establish a Marine Sanctuary and Fishing Zone, once passed into law, the proposal
called the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Act will have a transition phase of five years.
The plan is not only to close 80 per cent of Palau’s 600,000 square kilometers Exclusive Economic Zone but also undertake activities to advance its domestic fishing
industry, which is presently in a very small-scale stage.
Since then, various nations including United States had created partnerships and initiatives to conserve the ocean valued at more than $800million and launched agreements to protect more than threemillion square kilometres of the sea.
Palau’s current fishing industry is catering to export partners. The amount of money that Palau gets from the commercial foreign fishing companies is nowhere near the value of fish being caught in its EEZ.
Remengesau, when he first announced the plan two years ago, said a commercial fishing ban could help Palau earn more money from tourism than it gets from tuna fleets.
The plan, when finally implemented, would make Palau the world’s largest marine sanctuary.
“No longer will Palau be merely a shark sanctuary, it will be a sea sanctuary that protects all marine wildlife within Palau’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” President Remengesau said.

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