Palau on Wednesday entered into a sister sanctuary agreement with American Samoa through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the partnership aimed at advancing marine protected areas.
Palau President Tommy Remengesau said the agreement is critical to following concrete action in ocean protection.
“With this partnership , we enter a new phase of our collaboration , “ he said.
Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, chief executive officer, Palau International Coral Reef Center, in his remarks during the virtual launching of the agreement. said Palau is honored to collaborate with American Samoa on several ocean initiatives.
“It is an honor to join all of you today in announcing the sister sanctuary relationship between the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. (PNMS) Both American Samoa and Palau bring deep and valuable traditional ecological knowledge to integrate with the most modern scientific knowledge and techniques to insure a legacy of abundant marine resources for future generations,” Dr. Golbuu said.
Golbuu said PNMS came into full implementation in January of this year and establishes a large-scale no-take MPA which covers 80% of Palau’s EEZ. The remaining 20% is zoned for regulated offshore fishing activities.
The overarching aim of the PNMS is to conserve Palau’s ocean heritage and also to increase the sustainable contribution of the ocean to livelihoods and human wellbeing.”
He said the PNMS goals will be through science-driven MPA conservation and management, and a stronger pelagic fisheries for Palauans.
During the launch, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech also gave remarks and applauded the signing at a virtual event today announcing the new agreement.
“We celebrate this important collaboration between NOAA and the Palau International Coral Reef Center in the advancement of marine protected areas that are critical to island cultures and people’s livelihood,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech.
He stressed that the agreement is due to the Trump Administration’s ongoing support for the Pacific Islands and also strengthens the relationship between the United States and Palau.
“This agreement will support bold actions to strengthen the conservation, management, and stewardship of Marine Protected Areas across the Pacific Islands Region that intersect with many of NOAA’s critical mission areas, for the benefit of local communities, regional interests, and the nation,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy NOAA Administrator.
“Our Indo-Pacific partnerships are a top priority for the Trump Administration, and this agreement honors our shared history with the Republic of Palau.”
Under the agreement, Palau and American Samoa will partner in marine protection with the partnership expected to extend to the marine sanctuaries in Hawaii. (B. Carreon)