Trochus (Trochus niloticus) is well-known throughout the Pacific as a valuable economic and food resource of the fisheries sector—its shell used to make handicrafts and buttons and its meat to make seafood. Due to its snail-like characteristics in shallow reef, wild trochus populations are prone to overfishing. The Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) is mandated to advise the Olbiil ra Kelulau (OEK) to open or close the harvest season, whereas harvest activity regulations are subjective to the purview of each state government.
A survey done in 2016 by the BMR and the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) provided important scientific evidence for the OEK to decide to close the harvest season. Since then, the newly opened Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center (PMDC) in April of 2019 under direct management of the BMR had revamped its efforts on trochus breeding
. Through responsible management, the average production of each 10 ton-tank at the PMDC can produce up to 20,000 0.5 inch-juveniles. In February of 2020, the BMR had formed a multi-stakeholder coordinating team, which by mid-year had received its first juveniles. “Once we can meet stable production, we could then tag the trochus to distinguish between captive-bred and wild species”, commented the BMR Aquaculture and Fishery Specialist.
On January 05, 2021, BMR donated 10,000 trochus juveniles to Ebiil Society to replant in three known harvest locations with volunteers and the community of Ollei, Ngarchelong. “Through hands-on engagement, the community can restock the wild population by their direct actions and instill the importance of wildlife protection, which is the very standard of environmental education”, remarked Ebiil Society Director, Ann Kloulchad-Singeo. The BMR with its multi-stakeholder team can continue to address endangered species through meaningful collaboration and stable production of trochus, unmet since the 1970s. “Through the utilization of marine biology and understanding of the natural reproduction process, Palau is equipped to increase the survival rate of important fisheries species and soon realize its vision for sustainable seafood production”, commented BMR Director Leon E. Remengesau