“Reef fishes today are smaller and scarce”, this has been the resounding statement from fishermen during hamlet consultations in Koror. For quite some time, fishermen have observed dwindling fish populations and smaller fish. Filling up big coolers with big fish in a few hours is long gone, and a thing of the past with many senior fishermen.
In 2017 PICRC carried out a first nation-wide study to evaluate the status of commercially important reef fish stocks across Palau, results from the study indicated that many reefs in Palau have very low fish biomass which suggests overexploitation of fish stocks in the past.
In partnership with the states of Koror and Peleliu, Palau Conservation Society began hamlet consultations in Koror last month starting with Ngermid on to Ordomel hamlets of Iyebukl, Idid, Ikelau, Meketii, Dngeronger, including Madalaii. Ngerkesoaol, Ngerchemai, Ngerbeched, Meyuns, and Ngarkebsang to follow. Meetings with Peleliu fishermen are anticipated to take place in January 2021.
The consultations aim to ensure fishermen’s perspectives and advice will direct and chart a pathway to recover and sustain fish abundance and diversity through sustainable fisheries management frameworks approach.
PCS with the states of Koror and Peleliu, and other agency partners are collaborating in the Koror Peleliu Fisheries Management project to assist the states develop sustainable fisheries management and train state personnel to implement what will become the management measures for the states. For those fishermen who may have missed the consultations, your thoughts are important and you can join in any one of the upcoming hamlet meetings. You can call PCS at 488-3993 to confirm meeting dates, time and venue for the meetings.