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.