Vice President and Minister of Justice J. Uduch Sengebau Senior and staff from the Ministry of Justice and the Palau International Reef Center (PICRC) visited Peleliu earlier this month in partnership for a community meeting on a number of matters impacting the state. These matters included the GEF7, maritime surveillance, anti-human trafficking, and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.
The event drew 35 attendees and featured a full program including remarks from the Vice President, Peleliu State Legislature Speaker Billy Rekemel, PICRC’s CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Palau National Marine Sanctuary Director King Sam, and staff from PICRC and the Ministry of Justice.
“Our ocean is our heritage, and it’s our responsibility to manage and protect it” said Vice President Senior in her opening remarks. “Other countries might have valuable resources like oil, but in Palau we have our incredible ocean. It’s up to us to safeguard it for ourselves and for future generations.”
PICRC Researcher Ikelau Otto shared updates on PICRC’s latest surveys in Peleliu, which show that Peleliu’s fish stocks have grown since 2017 and that seagrass beds in Teluleu Conservation Area remain healthy.
PICRC Researcher and Science Officer Dr. Louw Claassens also shared updates on research in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary including ongoing studies of fish diversity and tuna reproduction.
Special Assistant to the Vice President on Maritime Surveillance Jeremiah Ngiratreged provided an overview of the Ministry of Justice’s enforcement efforts in the Sanctuary.
Lori J. Williams, Regional Counter Trafficking Consultant with the United Nations Migration Agency also led a presentation on human trafficking in Palau and steps communities can take to recognize and report trafficking.
Vice President Senior closed the program by reiterating the importance of maritime surveillance to protect Palau’s ocean and communities. All speakers took questions from the Peleliu community throughout the evening.