Palau celebrated the second year since the signing of President Tommy Remengesau’s signature policy- Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act.

On October 28, 2015. Remengesau Jr., signed into law   the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act. After a five year transition period, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary will encompass over 80 percent of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area of almost 500,000 square kilometers. The remaining 20 percent will be reserved for traditional fishing and highly regulated and reformed domestic fishing fleet to serve only Palau’s domestic and tourism needs.

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On its second year, Palau has been working with satellite technology providers like Google, Vulcan and Ocean Mind to help monitor its waters.

According to PNMS Executive Director Keobel Sakuma, Palau is also receiving new patrol vessels from Japan’s Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

PSS Kedam is nearing completion with new maritime patrol officers being trained.  The entire donation package is on schedule and slated to be delivered in Febuary of 2018.

Australia has also committed to continue their assistance to Palau through the Pacific Maritime Security Program and will replace the aging PSS Remeliik with a new Patrol Vessel in 2019.

PNMS has also entered into an agreement with Pacific Mission Aviation, a local airline with operations in Palau and the FSM that will provide aerial surveillance to support the Marine Law patrols.

In January, the Pristine Paradise Environmental Impact Fee (PPEF), a key component of the marine sanctuary law will be implemented.

The new fee will be included in the ticket price for all travelers coming to Palau.

The estimated collection of the revenue for the PNMS alone will be approximately 1.4 million USD annually and about $2million USD for the states to replace any fishing revenue that has been diminished due to the ending of commercial fishing exports in 2020.

Palau is also developing strategy for the creation of the Domestic Fishing Zone covering 20 percent of Palau EEZ.

The report said that Palau is developing a domestic fishing plan that would allow vessels for a domestic fishing fleet; a central Fishing Auction and Processing, a Central Market in which the local fishermen can sell their catch; a wharf for the auction facility and central market; and fish aggregating Devices (FADS) within the Domestic Fishing Zone that will attract pelagic fish for the benefit of the local domestic fishermen.

“Much has been achieved, yet the bulk of our work remains to be undertaken.  Only with patience and an understanding of the monumental effort required to effectively protect and manage an area of over 620,000 square kilometers will Palau succeed,” Sakuma stated. [/restrict]