President Surangel Whipps Jr. said fisheries can be one of the drivers of economic growth in Palau amid the susceptibility of the tourism industry to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks at the Economic Symposium yesterday President Whipps said COVID-19 has provided a reminder that “tourism is not enough” for the economic development of the nation.
“What we’ve learned from COVID is tourism is not enough… I think we can all agree that we cannot live on just tourism. We need to look at all other areas that we can develop. And when we talk about sovereignty, we talk about everything from our resources, whether it’s fishing.., “ Whipps said.
Whipps said there is more economic value that can be achieved from Palau’s fisheries sector, maximizing the benefits to help the people in Palau.
He noted that offloading tuna in. Palau and exporting high valued species of tuna to foreign markets would provide more economic returns.
“Probably the fish should be offloaded in Palau because if it’s offloaded in Palau, we can put them on a plane, there’s an extra-economic value added to the chain…so that’s, that’s what we have to look at. How do we maximize these resources to help the people of Palau,” he added.
Whipps said Palau is looking at new pathways to create other opportunities for Palau other than tourism.
In president Whipps’s first State of the Republic Address in April, the president said one focus of the ministry of fisheries was to enhance domestic fisheries.
“Through its reconstituted bureaus, the ministry will enhance Sustainable Domestic Fisheries Development from the shoreline to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) [boundary] to promote sustainable uses of our food source while also providing a path for new market opportunities for post-COVID-19 recovery,” the president said in his annual message to the people.