Sunday, March 27, 2011

Patrolling and Protecting Palau Shark Sanctuary

As per my last blog, a deal is indeed in the works that will bring considerable international support and long awaited assets to Palau to support Palau's Division of Marine Law Enforcement in patrolling and protecting the world's first shark sanctuary. In fact the shark sanctuary declaration was later expanded by President Toribiong to include all marine mammals in Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone which is an area approximately the size of France and a daunting challenge for Palau's Law Enforcement.

While the paperwork has taken a little longer than expected, the additional time being spent to finalize the agreement between Palau and the international conservation agency has been well-spent and the results are a stronger and more precise agreement with better defined roles that will improve effectiveness for all.

If all goes well I'm hopeful that this week will be the Week of The Shark in Palau as our Shark Sanctuary finally gets some real teeth! Hang in there!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Almost There! Don't Despair!

Regarding patrol and enforcement assistance for Palau Shark Sanctuary...well, true to the old adage, the job isn't done until the paperwork is finished! As such, there are a few more "i's" to be dotted and "t's" to be crossed in the Memorandum of Agreement between Palau and the "International Conservation Organization" that has committed considerable resources to Palau, before official wraps can be taken off the program and formal announcements made.

I've been assured by President Toribiongs office that final details will be taken care of this coming Monday, clearing the way formal announcements.

It's an exciting time for Palau as the need for assistance to enforce the sanctuary and Palau's fisheries regulations is highlighted by very recent events that took place concurrent with discussions regarding enforcement assistance.

Within the last two weeks illegal foreign fishing vessels have been targeting Palau's southwest islands and laying waste to Palau's reefs and fish stocks including many turtles while ill-equipped local rangers remained powerless to stop the raiders who are far better equipped. It's a classic David and Goliath battle. Rich "First World" nations raiding and robbing emerging Island Nations simply because they can! Illegal, immoral, and to date unstoppable. I am hopeful that the tides may finally be changing. They need to.

Please be patient and remain tuned for full details.

Palau Shark Sanctuary

Monday, March 14, 2011

At Long Last! Help Is On The Way!

I'm way overdue for making a post but have not been idle in the meantime. 

One of the biggest criticisms of Palau's shark sanctuary was Palau's inability to effectively patrol it. With only one patrol boat operated by Palau Marine Law Enforcement and an EEZ and sanctuary almost as big as France, much more help in enforcement is needed.

I'm pleased to report that later this week, (March 14 - 18) an announcement is forthcoming about help being on it's way to Palau! In an agreement brokered by Palau Shark Sanctuary, a commitment has been secured from a major marine conservation organization to fund a patrol boat, hi-speed chase boats, helicopter and or drones (UAV) to help patrol Palau's  shark sanctuary against poachers and illegal fishing activities.

Please stay tuned for more information and announcements later this week.