Palau President: Close 30% Of World’s Oceans

Palau’s President is calling for the protection of 30 percent of the world’s oceans, urging countries to follow in the footsteps of the island nation, which has taken initiatives to close major parts of its waters to safe keep its tuna resource. Nations need to step up to ensure sustainable development of fisheries through a worldwide network of protected areas, he recommends.

Last year a major part of PNA nation Palau’s tuna rich 600,000 square meter EEZ was closed off to commercial fishing operations, with 20 percent being left open for free school fishing only, creating the first totally FAD-free area in the PNA region. The measure was taken to help replenish tuna stocks as it was believed that international fleets had exhausted populations and left domestic fishermen with little to catch.

As much as 80 percent of Palau’s waters are now a no-take marine sanctuary, which is one of the largest protected ocean areas in the world. Speaking at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York, Palau’s President, Tommy Remengesau is calling for the rest of the world to follow suit, and recommends a similar closure of 30 percent of global oceans, with him suggesting 2030 as a target for this to happen.

Remengesau argues that countries should work together to establish a worldwide network of protected areas, “we must take into account the need for sustainable development and create opportunities for food security initiatives in developing countries enhancing small-scale and artisanal fisheries and building capacity in sustainable fisheries, tourism, and aquaculture,” he says.