In an effort to address the continued decline in the health of fisheries resources in the Northern Reef, the Northern Reef Management Planning Committee handed over the finished fisheries management plan for both states on July 6, 2016. Members of the Co-Advisory Committee which includes PICRCs’ CEO Dr. Golbuu, MNRET Minister Sengebau, Director Victor from the Nature Conservancy along with representatives from the NRFM project partner agencies where present to witness the Governor of Ngarchelong Honorable Browny Salvador, and Kayangel Governor Honorable Midas Ngiracheluolu endorse the management plan. The fisher folks and the governments of Kayangel and Ngarchelong have been engaged in a fisheries reform process that involved understanding the status of their fisheries, discussion on management and formulation of this fisheries management plan.
The goals of the Kayangel and Ngarchelong State Governments, fisher folks, and communities are to: 1) Rebuild fish populations and improve ecosystem health to support long-term sustainable use of resources; and 2) Ensure that the people of Ngarchelong and Kayangel have access to the resources they need and benefit directly from long-term stewardship.
The management approaches to achieve these goals are: 1) Implementing fishing permit system to control access; 2) Implement size limits to increase spawning biomass; 3) Protect habitats to ensure life history for certain reef fish species; and 4) Improve process for management and enforcement. The Northern Reef Fishery Management Plan is the first effort to develop a comprehensive approach towards improving fisheries management, rebuilding depleted fish stocks, and integrating fisheries into the ecosystem protection goals of the PAN process. The declining stocks, proportion of immature fish being caught, and local perceptions have driven a desire for a new management approach. The recommendations in the plan reflect the best understanding of the underlying science, best available monitoring data, and desired goals of the people and communities of Ngarchelong and Kayangel.
With the endorsement and implementation of the Fisheries Management Plan, the communities and people of the Northern Reef of Palau have taken a significant step towards rebuilding their fisheries, protecting their ecosystems, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of their resources for future generations. The NRFM Project is a collaborative initiative between Ngarchelong and Kayangel fisher folks with technical support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Palau Conservation Society (PCS), Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Palau Protected Areas Network Office, Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR). [/restrict]