Around 70 participants from Pacific island nations including Palau had joined the kickoff event of the 42nd annual US Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) meeting held in Koror, Palau on September 9.

Among the events conducted during the first day of the one-week meeting included field trips to Palau’s watersheds. Site visits to the fisheries in Palau’s Northern Reefs will also be conducted today, September 10.

A business meeting, which will be hosted by Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr, will also be held at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center on Thursday and will be co-chaired by United States Interior Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmospheres Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet.

Some personnel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will also present topics surrounding the status of corals. The USCRTF meeting will run from September 9 through September 13.

The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force was established in 1998 through a Presidential Executive Order which aims to “lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems.

The USCRTF was established in 1998 and is currently comprised of members from 12 US federal agencies, seven US states, territories, and commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)