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The island nation of Palau, composed of 250 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, is quite a country. Yes, it’s a nation of unparalleled natural beauty (just type in “Palau” in your image search engine), but it’s more than a pretty face – it’s a country dedicated to the protection of marine species and its people’s livelihoods.

Back in 2009, Palau became the first in the world to establish an ocean shark sanctuary, realizing that sharks are actually far more valuable alive than dead.

Indeed, a study by the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences and the University of Western Australia backed up this idea, revealing that just one reef shark can bring in nearly $2 million U.S. dollars “in its lifetime to the economy of Palau,” as reported by National Geographic.

Now, Palau is taking another big step, this time by banning commercial fishing altogether, establishing, as President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said, “a 100 percent marine sanctuary.”

How cool is that?!

According to Remengesau and the Herald Sun, the ban will help Palau preserve “a pristine environment” and “promote snorkeling, scuba diving and ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy.”

The ban will come into full effect after current fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan, and some private companies expire, allowing only local fishing to continue within a 370 km (229 miles) “exclusive economic zone,” as the Herald Sun reports.

In addition to fishing activities, Remengesau cites effects of climate change and global warming, such as unpredictable weather patterns and sea level rises, as having an impact on fish populations and marine life.

With a “100 percent marine sanctuary” lined up, Palau might just be poised to be the next animal protection champion right up there next to Costa Rica. Great work, Palau!

Image source: Mike Baird / Flickr

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16 comments on “Palau to Become a ‘100 Percent Marine Sanctuary’ by Banning Commercial Fishing”

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Kayla
3 Years Ago

I wanna move there!!!


Reply
Jasmynn Nichole Mua
3 Years Ago

Rad


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Liz Tanner
3 Years Ago

Yes! Wonderful news (y)


Reply
Vincent Rado
3 Years Ago

I wonder if they also banned Tropical Fish collection? There was at least one station there. Tridacna clam aquaculture too. Remember that ecotourism is degrading to the environment as well. I hope they manage it well.


Reply
Sierra
3 Years Ago

This is awesome! We need more marine protected areas. I am confused about the last comment about Costa Rica though. I live in Costa Rica and have been working towards creating a marine protected area for 16 years. Costa Rica does NOT take care of her oceans and we are seeing total collapse of eco systems here. We used to see 100's of sea turtles. Now we are lucky to see one or two on our tours. Costa Rica's very own sub-species of Spinner Dolphin, the Costa Rica Spinner Dolphin is being decimated by tuna boats allowed in by the government. Palau is definitely WAY ahead of Costa Rica in the marine protection department.


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Aiyana Pavati
3 Years Ago

awesome!!! :D


Reply
Ruth Mahalia
3 Years Ago

I have a friend who lives there. Maybe I should visit soon?


Reply
Jennica Tait
3 Years Ago

I wanna go!


Reply
Julie Jules
3 Years Ago

Yeah!


Reply
Dawn Michele Chicano
3 Years Ago

Vincent Rado


Reply


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