The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, was awarded with a 326,000 USD grant from Oceans 5—a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA)—to support Phase 2 of the project titled The First Nationwide Marine Sanctuary in Palau.

In addition to supporting PICRC in the administration, education and outreach of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS), a portion of this grant will support the work of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, on the development of the domestic fishery, and the Ministry of Justice on their work on the enforcement of PNMS.

The PNMS was established on October 28, 2015. Allowing for a five-year-transition period to take place, the PNMS will protect 80% of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The remaining 20% is reserved for traditional fishing and highly regulated fishing fleets that meet Palau’s domestic and tourism needs. At the same time, the PNMS promotes the consumption of pelagic fish, over reef fish, among local residents. With these measures, Palau seeks to ensure food security by protecting fish breeding grounds and nurseries within Palauan waters.

Funding from this grant will provide means to plan, implement, manage and enforce strategies that will ensure the long-term success of the PNMS. Monetary resources will be allocated in five key areas: 1) Food security through the domestic fishing zone, 2) Public education and community outreach, 3) Surveillance and enforcement, 4) Management and enforcement plans, and 5) Sanctuary office administration and legal assistance. A key aspect to highlight is the participation of the local community. In order to ensure the success of the PNMS, socio-economic studies will be set in place to study how the PNMS is viewed by the Palauan community and how valuable the Sanctuary is to them.

“The successful implementation of the PNMS can only be made possible through the collaboration of many different agencies and stakeholders,” stated Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of PICRC. “The generous donation from Oceans 5 will help strengthen our partnerships and engagements with the different stakeholders.  Together, we will strive to ensure the effective implementation of the PNMS for the benefit of the people of Palau.” (PR)