August 4 2017.  Ollei, Ngarchelong- Governor Midas Ngiracheluolou of Kayangel and Governor Browny Salvador of Ngarchelong signed today a Memorandum of Agreement putting into formal action joint enforcement and management operations of the Northern Reefs.  


The Agreement will allow combined cooperation for vigilance, communications, outreach, and other reciprocated assistance between the two state jurisdictions.  Governor Temmy Shmull of Peleliu in his key message during the signing ceremony said “it is important states continue to build our capacity and strengthen our ability to look after our resources and in the South, Peleliu and Angaur hope to learn from the Northern States to develop a similar approach of management”.

The signing of the Agreement comes at the conclusion of a weeklong Capacity Building and Training for Joint Fisheries Enforcement in Protected Areas held at the JFK Elementary School in Kayangel ending at the Ngarchelong State Government Office from July 31 – August 4, 2017.  The training included review and orientation to key operating documents, the Northern Reef Fisheries Management Plan, newly adopted rules and regulations, and establishing some basic operational standard procedures.  At the end of the training workshop, fourteen rangers with their directors received certificates for successful completion of the workshop.  Training provided by the Koror Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Maritime Safety and Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Public Service System, and Palau Conservation Society.  Director Hosei Ise and Chief Temdik Ngireblekuu issued the certificates to the Rangers.

The vast Northern Reef area combines two state territorial waters with a total area of 3,930 square kilometers, an area bigger than the city of Tokyo or the city of Los Angeles by land area, and is Palau’s most productive coastal fishing region.  Northern Reef consists of the Kayangel Protected Areas Network (KPAN) and the Ngarchelong Marine Managed Area (NMMA).  Within the networks are established marine protected areas serving as important habitat for key fish species to include Ngerunagel, Ngkesol, and Ebiil.  Over recent years, fisheries stock assessment conducted in the waters of Kayangel and Ngarchelong showed the area is grossly overfished.  According to data collected from fish catch, nearly 70% of landed fish were immature or juvenile while less than 30% of landings were mature.  These results are alarming and confirmed the Northern Reef is overfished that should the situation continue as is, the fisheries will no longer be able to support the livelihoods of the people in Ngarchelong and Kayangel, and has some real negative economic implications to the rest of Palau.

The states took action and imposed a 3-year moratorium on few key species.  During the moratorium the states have been working with consortia of partners in the development of the Northern Reefs Fisheries Management Plan being integrated into the management scheme of the overall protected areas of the North.  The Plan with supporting rules and regulations are today in place and enforcement between the two states is gearing into full swing.  To ensure measures for Sustainable Fisheries and still meet the goals of the state protected areas networks, the Northern Reef establishes nine zones.  All of the zones allow entry but are controlled by either Limited-use, No-Take or Take zones with proper permit and limits. Ngeruangel, Ebiil, and Ngkesol Zone 5 continue to accommodate popular tourist activities such as diving, snorkeling, and catch and release sportsfishing.

The Velasco Zone and the Northern Reef Zone 9 are designated commercial fishing zones, provided the company or operation obtains a commercial fishing license from respective state.  Zones 2, 3, and 8 are reserved for subsistence fishing only.  All fishing activities require permits and permit holders must also comply with minimum-size limits enforced today in the Northern Reefs.  Full information can be obtained at the Kayangel DNRCS Office at 876-2765 or Ngarchelong DRD at 855-6950. [/restrict]