This year’s Palau Sports Fishing Association (PFSA) Fishing Derby celebrated the Ngardok Nature Reserve (NNR)’s 25th Anniversary. The much anticipated annual fishing derby had a total of 28 boats that departed both Melekeok Marina and Drop Off Bar and Grill in the early hours of Saturday morning, eager to reel in the biggest catch!

With attractive prize pots for Marlin, Tuna, and Wahoo/Barracuda/Spanish mackerel categories, fishers rushed out to bring home the biggest catch. A total of 18 teams that joined at $100 per team raised the final prize up to $1,800. And so clocking back at 11:21 AM, Team LK and captain Rayson King not only came in first place, but reeled in the biggest catch of the day, a 246.5 lb. marlin, taking home the $1,800 prize pot.

Team Mekul Twins, captained by Brian Melairei won first place in the Tuna category, bagging $1,500 with a catch of a 96.5 lb. yellowfin tuna. 2nd place tuna ($1,000) went to Captain Rodney Wong and his team, and 3rd place ($700) went to Team Fudashi, captained by Joe Reklai. There were no fish entered in the Wahoo, Barracuda, and Spanish Mackerel category. Congratulations to all the winners!

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Ngardok Nature Reserve, games and booths kept the crowd entertained while waiting for fishers to bring their catch back to Melekeok Marina for weigh-in. 

More than 125 people turned out at Melekeok Marina to celebrate Ngardok’s 25th Anniversary. Participants took part in games such as archery, musical chairs, and Over Under, while local vendors sold items such as betelnut, smoked fish, sandwiches, cookies, and more.

Raffle tickets were also sold to raise funds for ongoing 25th Anniversary activities. One of the prizes, a summerhouse, donated by Melekeok State Government, was won by Lukes Isechal who bought a $10 raffle ticket. Another was a piglet, donated by Legislator Omar Faustino, won by Juana Rengulbai, who had bought a $5 raffle ticket. 

“The Ngardok Nature Reserve houses Palau’s largest and most biologically diverse freshwater lake. Ngardok’s terrestrial habitats include native lowland forest, secondary forest, savanna, swamp forest, marsh, and riparian forests. The Reserve has unique vegetation, such as the native carnivorous flowering plant Urticularia and a high diversity for orchids (Costion, 2008). The lake is home to the rare Common Moorhen. Lake Ngardok is Palau’s only official recognized Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site).” Ngardok Nature Reserve.

The Ngardok 25th Anniversary Committee express appreciation to the following sponsors for their partnership and support in making this event possible: Reklai Raphael Bao Ngirmang and Bai Melekeong, Palau Sports Fishing Association, MAFE Bureau of Fisheries and Bureau of Agriculture, Melekeok State Government, Friends of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Miliani’s Fun Shop, Ministry of Health and Human Services, MOJ Bureau of Fire and Rescue, Artingal Seaside Store, United States Forest Service, Palau Archery Federation – Tutii Chilton, Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Team Busonge – Olai Uludong, Peleliu Governor Dr. Emais Roberts, Melekeok Delegate Frutoso Tellei, Melekeok Legislator Omar Faustino, CRIS Alliance, RARE, Secharuleong Theodoro Rengulbai, Olikong Caleb Rechelbang, Dirraudes Magdalena R. Ngirmang, and Dirraledes Lucia T. Yano.

For more information about Ngardok Nature Reserve, please contact MCN Coordinator Dearlynn Rebluud, at;; or visit Melekeok Conservation Network on Facebook and @ngardok_mcn on Instagram.

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