June 29, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

A lesson from Palau

LOL – Lauren on Location – In her last blog entry Lauren reflects on a key factor which is helping Palau to retain a rich biodiversity in its waters.

Palau is unlike many other countries in that it actually recognizes what it has i.e.: world class dive sites and instead of ruining and exploiting such a resource it embraces it and protects it.

I was particularly interested in how they were putting into practice their shark sanctuary policy (as unveiled to the world in September 2009) which banned the landing of sharks or shark fins by local or international vessels in Palauan waters. How is it policed ? Does it work ?

It is likely that to make such a bold statement as to declare your national waters a shark sanctuary you would have to be sure it would work, and of course it does.

Most of the islands are considered National Parks and so permits are required for visitors which are inspected by park rangers and finally the dive companies are savvy when it comes to issuing visitors with permits (it reflects badly on the company if their customers are not in possession of a valid permit and has consequences to boot) as well as their almost daily presence within their waters which must act as a strong deterrent to any international fishing vessels.

The ocean itself is also fundamental to the story of the creation of Palau (the country being born from a giant clam) as well as ocean practices such as fishing being featured in numerous folklore; being used to teach several morals and values.

The blog in more detail can be found here.

Posted in: Shark Bites
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