President Surangel Whipps Jr. meets SG Henry Puna of the Pacific Island Forum, also of Office of Pacific Ocean Commission

Planned youth protest against the proposed changes to the Palau National Marine Sanctuary during the 7th Ocean Conference seeks help from Palau leaders as well as the world leaders to save Palau National Marine Sanctuary, hashtag #savemysanctuary.

Meeting of regional leaders and ministers at the Pacific Blue Economy Roundtable meeting.

Petitions to stop the proposed changes to the PNMS law, are circulating both online and on paper.  Each of the two petitions have garnered nearly 2,000 signatures each according to Ann Singeo, Director of Ebiil Society, helping with organization of the protests.

The protests will be held in front of Did-ra-Ngmatel, PCC and Palau High School on the 13th and 14th and anyone is welcome to join in the protest.

“It also shows we have a vibrant society.  If we are all quiet, it means we have been intimidated,” added Singeo of the action of protesting to voice out concerns.

Students from Koror Elementary School watch a demonstration of NASA view of the earth at the Palau National Gym, the Plenary Hall of the 7th Our Ocean Conference

The proposal to change PNMS’s current No-Take-Zone from 80% to 30% and opening 70% to long-line and purse seine fishing is supported by President Surangel Whipps Jr.’s in his Palau Blue Economy Business Plan.  The plan calls for ‘100% management’ of Palau’s EEZ that Whipps says “balances protection and production of our fishery sector.”

Singeo added that much of what is proposed in the Blue Economy Plan can be achieved under the current law.   Asserting that PNMS with its 80% No-Take-Zone can be leveraged in different ways to raise revenues for Palau if left alone to continue the work it has already begun.

“To our Palauan leaders, we young people, we common folks, depend on you to be our mouth, our eyes, representing us to protect Palau’s resources, the ocean and the land…  We  humbly beg you , our leaders, to please help save our sanctuary,” implored Singeo in her radio talk show yesterday on Palau Wave Radio. 

PNMS, a bold environmental policy that made Palau stand out as world leader in marine conservation, is ironically being challenged at the international Oceans conference that convenes world leaders to seek solutions for ocean’s protection.

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