A new commemorative stamp is to be released jointly by Palau and the Republic of China – Taiwan (ROC – Taiwan) on June 26 and it will highlight the message of shark and Green Sea Turtle conservation.

Palau Postmaster General Timothy Sinsak, in an interview with Island Times yesterday, shared that the idea of producing the commemorative stamp was arranged two years ago with the Embassy of ROC – Taiwan in Palau.

Sinsak said that during the meeting with the former Chairman of the Chunghwa Post in Taipei, Philip Ong, both parties agreed that the two countries must start doing something on the conservation of sharks and sea turtles especially that in Taiwan sharks are consumed as food while the same goes for sea turtles in Palau.

When the incumbent chairman of the Chunghwa Post, Kent K.T. Wang, took over the position, he agreed to continue the plan which led to the signing of the Ceding Rights Contract last April, Sinsak shared.

A total of 800,000 sheets of the commemorative stamp are to be printed in Taiwan under the China Color Printing Co., Ltd while Palau will also be reproducing a total of 5,000 sheets. The commemorative stamp will be simultaneously unveiled by the two countries on June 26.

Each stamp can be purchased in Palau’s Philatelic Office for $1.50 and it will carry the message on its print that says, “to preserve and protect the sharks and turtles from extinction.”

“We don’t want the price [to be] too high. We wanted to make sure that it is easy for people to pay but the message behind it is strong,” Sinsak said.

“This is not just a postal stamp now, we are part of the global effort and campaign to conserve what we have today,” Sinsak added.

Part of the agreement, according to Sinsak, is that Palau shall provide the picture of the shark while ROC – Taiwan shall also provide the picture of the turtle which will be used in the stamp’s design.

Each year, fins from around 73 million sharks are used for shark fin soup, a luxury dish whose consumption led to the overfishing of many vulnerable shark species and inhumane practice of finning, according to wildaid.org. The same site also noted that more than 70 shark species are already facing the risk of extinction.

Meanwhile, overharvesting of sea turtles for meat, leather, and tortoise shells had also caused turtle populations to decrease.

In Palau, President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. had recently signed a bill into law to put a ten-year moratorium on the “harvesting, taking, selling, purchasing, or killing of hawksbill turtles”.

“The hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered animal that relies on Palau and its surrounding waters, more so than those of any other nation on earth, to nest and reproduce. It is endangered largely because of illegal poaching. Given the turtle’s significant status in the history, culture, and ecology of the Republic of Palau, it is obvious that we must do everything in our power to save it,” Remengesau was quoted in previous reports. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)