Since 2010, Palau has seen a huge influx in the number of visitors, increasing by nearly 50%. Economic growth and the continued development of the tourism industry have led to a large market for fresh seafood. As tourism has increased, new restaurants have opened serving local seafood on a daily basis. While the tourism industry plays an integral role in Palauan economy, the impact on the ecosystem from increased seafood demands is unknown.
To respond to the increase in demand and the lack of information on the impact on fish populations, PICRC initiated a study to assess current fish populations around Palau’s main islands.
In early February, PICRC researchers continued conducting underwater census surveys focusing on commercially important reef fish species.
This study is conducted in about 100 sites around Palau’s main islands, from Kayangel in the in the north and expanding as far south as Angaur . The surveys are conducted using an advanced diver operated stereo video system, which accurately and proficiently measures the size of the commercially important fish species. This study will provide an updated and comprehensive status of our reef fish populations.
This research will also focus on determining the recovery of the kemedukl (bumphead parrotfish) and maml (napoleon wrasse), two highly protected, yet vulnerable species found in Palau. The information gained will provide us with the latest information on the status of these protected species.
The data and the results of these studies will guide decisions that Palau makes to manage its fisheries so that the people of Palau can continue to enjoy fish populations now and into the future. [/restrict]