This week, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is hosting the Science & Monitoring Strategy Development Workshop with experts from around the world to further develop the science and monitoring strategy for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS).While most of the participants will attend the meeting in person, those who could not make it to Palau are attending virtually. 

This workshop follows consultations with local stakeholders in Palau, including those from the government, non-governmental organizations, and fishermen, to identify research needs and priorities for managing the sanctuary. 

From Tuesday to Friday this week, the participants, who include experts from Stanford University, NOAA, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of Hawaii and many other institutions, will attend several sessions each day to fulfil the main objectives of the workshop. These objectives are to review and refine the PNMS science and monitoring priorities by looking at the key research questions, to review and refine the strategy, to develop key scientific partnerships, and to identify collaborations and funding opportunities. 

Sessions include talks on fisheries, human dimensions, ecology, and oceanography, discussions about other marine sanctuaries, a review of the context, different perspectives, and priorities of PNMS, and strategy development. Part of the workshop also involves participants meeting with local stakeholders with site visits to the Division of Maritime Security and Fish and & Wildlife Protection and Belau Offshore Fisheries Incorporated.

Following the development of the draft strategy, PICRC staff will go back to the local stakeholders to get their feedback and inputs before the strategy is finalized.

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