The Senate deferred the bill that proposes to allow a two-month fishing season for the adult Napoleon Wrasse and adult Bumphead Parrotfish for personal consumption.
Senate Bill No. 10-78, SD1, which was deferred during the Senate’s 6th special session last March 14, seeks to allow the two-month fishing of the identified species, citing in its legislative findings that the taking of these sea creatures are necessary for the exercise of Palauan traditions and customs.
The Marine Protection Act of 1994, which was passed by the 4th Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), previously banned the commercial fishing of the juvenile and adult Napoleon Wrasse (ngimer) and Bumphead Parrotfish (berdebed).
In 1996, the Napoleon Wrasse was named as “species of concern” by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and in 2005, the 7th OEK also passed RPPL 4-18, a law that prohibited the taking of these fish species, as a response to the result of the study conducted by the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) in 2003 which revealed that these fish species’ numbers were declining and on a fast track to becoming endangered species, according to the bill.
The same bill also cited that the OEK found in the PICRC fish population study published in August 2013 and also based on the monitoring that the PICRC conducted from 2015 and 2017 that there is an “increasing trend in the populations of Bumphead Parrotfish and a stable populations of the Napoleon Wrasse.
“Based on this data, we can consider limited harvest strictly for subsistence and personal consumption,” the bill read.
“The Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that since the total ban on taking Napoleon Wrasse and Bumphead Parrotfish was put into place in 2006, both species have flourished and recovered sufficiently to allow limited harvesting,” the bill added.
The bill also indicated some other provisions that discussed the prohibited acts, regulations and reporting, criminal penalties, and state measures. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)[/restrict]