The Palau International Coral Reef Center had the pleasure to visit the state of Angaur on September 7-8, 2022 for outreach. On the evening of September 7th, PICRC hosted a community meeting at the Angaur Community Center. The event drew 13 community members, most of whom were aged over 50-years old. PICRC staff presented information on the Center’s monitoring efforts on the Iuaiu conservation area, the research and outreach efforts on the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, and the GEF6 Biodiversity and Invasive Species.
Although it was a small audience, the community members were very much engaged. There were few questions that were raised on Palau’s coral reefs, shark monitoring, and Iuaiu conservation area. One community member pointed out the barge that entered Iuaiu conservation area in 2019, explaining that it could be another reason for the loss of coral cover that PICRC saw in the 2020 monitoring. Other questions asked about Palau’s coral reefs and if the corals are able to withstand the ocean warming temperatures. PICRC Researcher Victor Nestor explained that there are certain coral species and populations that are more heat-tolerant than others, but research on transplanting these heat-tolerant corals is still on-going. Another question was raised by a concerned fisherman, regarding the growth and monitoring of sharks. PNMS Director King Sam and Research Director Geraldine Rengiil both explained the various reasons why sharks are more visible inside the reefs and that research is ongoing for shark tagging and monitoring. However, the preliminary data on the shark monitoring still needs to be analyzed in order to provide recommendations to the OEK for shark regulations.
To end the program, the community members were briefed on the upcoming PNMS socio-economic survey, which will commence in October 2022-April 2023. PICRC Researcher Elsei Tellei asked for the community’s full support when the time comes for surveying Angaur state. Another community member showed keen interest in helping out with the survey. Director Geraldine Rengiil then presented a few 2022 Arts & Tide Calendar to the audience members who were very engaged throughout the night.
Director King Sam concluded, “We would like to thank everyone for taking time out tonight to join us this evening. Tomorrow, we will be conducting the school outreach to present this important information to the students and we would like to extend the invitation for the community to come and observe. This is hopefully the start to more outreach to Angaur state.”