The Palau Council of Chiefs commended President Surangel Whipps Jr. for his position statement on seabed mining and for pushing for at least 30% Protected Ocean by 3030. Meanwhile, they urged President Whipps to maintain and sustain the “integrity and full protection” of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.”
In their letter, the Chiefs said that since the closure of PNMS in 2020, early studies indicate “regeneration” and “spillover” of the fish population, both migratory and pelagic, into surrounding local waters.
They also noted that small-scale fishermen and fishing tournaments are seeing positive benefits from the full-scale closure. The results of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument study showed a “spillover” effect on the fish population was cited in support of maintaining the integrity of the PNMS.
The Chiefs also supported Marine Spatial Planning but said it should be along “inner shores and coastal areas” alongside state protected areas network of PAN.
“We need to ensure that our indigenous people, our way of life that rely on the ocean for our food, security, economic security, and defense of climate change impacts continue; to secure a sustainable future for our children and the next generation.” Council of Chiefs stated.