Friday, April 16, 2010


Field Report from Palau Capitol Building, Ngerulmud, Melekeok, Palau, Micronesia, April 16, 2010.

You may recall that Shark Savers fielded two petitions regarding Palau. The first one opposed a bad proposed shark fishing law and the second one thanked Palau for subsequently protecting sharks by creating the national Palau Shark Sanctuary. Shark Savers subsequently created a book consisting of all the signatures and comments collected for presentation to President Toribiong. The book was presented to President Johnson Toribiong of Palau on behalf of SHARK SAVERS by Palau Shark Sanctuary. Here's the report I filed with Mr. Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers:

Dear Michael:

I met with the President re: Shark Savers' Thank You. Others present were Mr. Ngirai Tmetuchel, Special Advisor to the President and Ms. Bernadette Carreon, Reporter, Palau Horizon (she’ll do a story in local paper which will be syndicated on line) and a few of the Presidents staff.

I gave a brief history / reminder of how Shark Savers answered the call by my organization Palau Shark Sanctuary to rally international support to prevent the undoing of Palau’s landmark shark protection legislation as proposed in Senate Bill 8-44. Shark Savers created an on line petition calling on Palau to block SB 8-44 which resulted in conservation minded people around the world rising to the call. Those messages and petition were already provided to Palau’s President and copied to the Senate, Belau Tourism Association, Chamber of Commerce and others.
Image Above Left:  Copyright Shark Savers; Design Jamie Pollack.

Following the President’s historic announcement at the U.N., Shark Savers again rose to the call and gathered over 1500 signatures on a Thank You note to the President for his ground breaking shark sanctuary announcement and wise leadership in conservation.

I informed the President that I was present on behalf of Shark Savers and Executive Director Michael Skoletsky to hand over the printed and bound “thank you” signatures to him and to extend the deepest gratitude of Shark Savers and the thousands of people around the world who signed the petition and the thank you, for the Presidents Shark Sanctuary announcement at the United Nations General Assembly Meeting in New York, late last year.

I read your letter to the President after which I presented him the award on yours and Shark Savers behalf.

The President was deeply moved. He smiled when I mentioned the on line petition as there is no doubt he “heard the noise” at the time.

He extended his thanks to Sharks Savers and those who signed the petition and thank you note for their positive and constructive contribution to the protection of sharks. He sends his best wishes to you and all Shark Savers and vowed to continue his efforts to fulfill his vision for Palau Shark Sanctuary.


IMAGES ABOVE LEFT and BELOW RIGHT:  Copyright Palau Horizon;   Courtesy Palau Shark Sanctuary

Below is the text of the letter from Shark Savers that accompanyied the book:

Dear President Toribiong,

It is with great pleasure that we present to you this book containing the signatures and messages from the many people throughout the world who are grateful for your actions to protect the sharks of Palau.

As you read through the comments in the book, you will notice how greatly moved we all are that you have taken this important and bold action. Palau has become much more than a place in our diving logs, but a place in our hearts, as well.

Sharks are important to us, to Palau, and to the world. After Palau took its pioneering step, the Maldives has joined you in declaring its waters a shark sanctuary. Honduras has placed a moratorium on shark fishing as it considers doing the same. We hope that you have started a trend among the nations that harbor the remaining sharks.

We also thank Palau for taking the lead at CITES to protect shark species from international trade. While we are all disappointed at the lack of progress at CITES this year, we thank you for leading the fight.


Friday, March 12, 2010

An Interview with SVARnet TV - Liesbeth Liekens

During a recent business trip to Germany to attend BOOT show in Dusseldoerf, I was interviewd by Ms. Liesbeth Liekens of Submerge Productions and SVARnet TV. Liesbeth recommended viewing using the Silverlight video player but its also available in Flash, but that will be discontinued soon.

SVARnet offers a series of video channels all dedicated to diving and the underwater world from several videographers around the globe. Visit SVARnet TV to view these high quality video podcasts from videographers that include: Evan Kovacs, Andreas Schumacher, Bruno Vanherck, Liquid Productions, Klemens Gann, Fergus Kennedy, Philippe Madeira, and Rob Stewart. IMAGE COPYRIGHT SVARnet.TV

Click here for the interview. TITLE: Dermot Keane and the Shark Sanctuary in Palau.

Click here for information.    Popular Episodes and New Episodes.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Getting Back On The Air!

Apologies for the long absence since my last post following the ground breaking announcement by President Toribiong at the U.N. on September 25, 2009!

The frenzy of activities and media attention following the President’s historic announcement coupled with business obligations that included a lot of international travel and the fact that my organization Palau Shark Sanctuary consists of just me on the ground in Palau, simply overwhelmed me!(yes I have lots of support from individuals and organizations around the world...but in the end, it's just me!).

My schedule has slowed down temporarily giving me long overdue time to update my supporters, blogs, website and other sources on what has happened since President Toribiong’s historic announcement. Rest assured, despite the absence of blog postings etc., much work has gone on to bring the President’s announcement to life!
My website is due for overhaul too as soon as time and money permits.

In the days ahead I will provide more detailed updates on actions and activities in Palau and at Palau Shark Sanctuary and in the meantime please be assured that every effort is being made to ensure the full realization and long term success of President Toribiong's vision for Palau’s National Shark Sanctuary.

Posts Coming Soon (not necessarily in this order):

SHARKS SAVERS: Thank You Booklet is in Palau and ready for presentation to President Toribiong. Just waiting to finalize a date for the presentation. Standby!

ENFORCEMENT UPDATE: Updates on actions and activities to detect sanctuary violations and enforce the law. The first prosecution of illegal shark poaching under the new sanctuary declaration has just finished with sentencing about to be announced. Government prosecutors are seeking maximum penalties of over $1 Million plus jail time as an example and deterrent.

TUNA CONFERENCE: Updates on recently held symposium in Palau to better manage Palau’s high seas fisheries where a lot of “shark interactions” occur. Interaction sounds oh so innocent! Full report coming.
CITES CONVENTION: Palau is reviewing its’ position on CITES reservations with many positive changes forecasted. Palau is supporting US and EU proposals at upcoming CITES convention in Qatar to enhance protection for four additional sharks species.

DISCOVERY CHANNEL SHARK WEEK: A little story about DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS bully tactics against those who are genuinely trying to educate the public about sharks (that would be me) as opposed to their despicable money driven fear-mongering about sharks. They are not nice people!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Palau's Shark Alarm! A story by DATELINE reporter David O' Shea


I recently joined video journalist David O' Shea, who had just completed his PADI Open Water Diver Certification with Instructor Jim Wilke of Sam's Tours Palau, as he plunges underwater for his very first scuba dive and into the controversy over saving the ocean's top predator. Coincidentally, it was also my very first dive in the newly created Palau Shark Sanctuary following President Toribiong's historic announcement at the United Nations in September 2009.

The teaser for David's story reads: The tiny Pacific nation of Palau has delcared itself the world's first national shark sanctuary. It's in response to the massive plunder of sharks that occurs in its vast territorial waters, part of an estimated 100 million sharks killed each year.  This carnage is being fueled by Asia's rapidly growing appetite for shark fin soup. The sharks are captured, have their fins hacked off and are then thrown overboard to die.

Image copyright Gunther Deichmann

Tiny Palau has warned the world it will protect its natural resources, but with only one patrol boat, can the shark sanctuary ever be enforced? Watch our report and take a look at our photo  gallery of behind the scenes photos and underwater pictures from David's story.

DATELINE is Australia's longest-running international current affairs program presented by George Negus and a team of acclaimed producers and video journalists.

Click Here for David O' Shea's report.