On February 9, 2017, President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. met with Dr. Rebecca Gruby of Colorado State University (CSU) as part of a research project in conservation policies of large marine protected areas and social impacts.
Leading a university social science research and outreach project, Assistant Professor of CSU’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Dr. Gruby sat down with President Remengesau to talk about the inspiration behind the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the need to have it, and the social impacts it may have on the Palauan people.
Set to be one of the largest no-take marine sanctuaries in the world, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary has been a subject of international scientific research topics since its establishment in 2015. The Palau National Marine Sanctuary has been drawing researchers not only due to its sheer size, but generally due to its founding concept known as “bul” – the Palauan traditional conservation method of setting aside a protected area to provide for the area near or around it.
This time, a research on the social impacts of the Sanctuary is being put together. According to Gruby, the 3-year collaborative project between the University of Guelph and Duke University is funded by several reputable organizations including the Lyda Hill Foundation, and the Tiffany & Co. Foundation. The project focuses in-depth research into potential human dimensions from design to management of proposed and designated marine protected areas in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans including the Republic of Palau, Kiribati, Bermuda, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Island (CNMI). [/restrict]