Thursday, October 15, 2015

Palau Senate Passes National Marine Sanctuary Bill

Today the Palau National Marine Sanctuary became one step closer to reality after the Palau Senate passed the bill calling for its creation by a vote of 10-0.

"I commend our Senators for advancing this important piece of legislation and look forward to working with the House on swift passage," said President Thomas E. Remengesau, Jr. "The Palau National Marine Sanctuary is more than a conservation proposal, it is critical for our nation's food, economic, and national security."

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary will transform the nation's waters into two distinct areas. After a five-year transition period, 80 percent of the country’s exclusive economic zone(EEZ) totaling 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles) will become a fully protected marine reserve where all extractive activities will be prohibited.The remaining 20 percent will become a fishing zone for Palau’s domestic market with limited foreign fishing and exports.

"This is an important breakthrough," said Seth Horstmeyer, a director with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy project, which has provided technical assistance for the sanctuary proposal since 2014. "Upon full designation, the National Marine Sanctuary will benefit the people of Palau and the overall health of the ocean."

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary legislation now moves to the House of Delegates, where a companion bill was introduced in August 2015 by a majority of its members.

Source: Office of the President, Republic of Palau

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