On Tuesday September 10, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) was honored to welcome to the Palau Aquarium RDML Timothy Gallaudet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Dr. Jim Reilly, Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Douglas Domenech, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, and Tricia Hooper, NOS Program Coordination Officer.

PICRC’s distinguished guests are in Palau as part of the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) meeting which will be held on Thursday September 12, at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center. The USCRTF was established in 1998 with the purpose of preserving and protecting coral reef ecosystems.

As the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, RDML Timothy Gallaudet is developing the Blue Economy initiative where he is seeking to expand activities related to marine transportation, tourism, ocean exploration, and fisheries.

Likewise, as the Director of the USGS, Dr. Jim Reilly is leading the research involving natural resource conditions and arising problems. Furthermore, as the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Douglas Domenech manages the relationship that the United States has with its territories and all the Freely Associated States (FAS).

The input of such high-ranking government officials will be of great value during the Task Force meeting where partnerships, strategies, and support for on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs will be discussed.

Greeted by PICRC CEO, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, along with PICRC directors and staff, the honorable guests received a tour of the Palau Aquarium where they learned more about Palau’s unique marine ecosystems as well as the Center’s efforts to preserve them.

The PICRC is honored to host such distinguished guests and hopes that the relationship between the Center, Palau, and the U.S. continues to strengthen with the conservation of coral reefs, and the environment, at the core of the agenda. (PR)