Friday, April 1, 2011

An Historic Agreement between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and The Republic of Palau

(Images copyright Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Finally, after what has been a rather lengthy drum-roll (as pointed out by a good friend)….. I am very pleased to announce the signing of an historic agreement between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and The Republic of Palau, that will significantly improve and expand Palau’s capabilities to patrol and protect its’ shark sanctuary from illegal fishing. 

I am also very pleased and humbled that Palau Shark Sanctuary, the one-man shark conservation organization I founded in 2001 on a mission to convince Palau to declare its’ EEZ a shark sanctuary, was able to play a significant role in brokering this historic agreement between Sea Shepherd and Palau, in yet another huge step closer to giving true meaning and real life to Palau’s sanctuary.

 (Images copyright Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

I heartily congratulate and deeply commend President Toribiong of Palau and Captain Paul Watson and CEO Steve Roest of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on this exciting occasion for marine conservation.  

I also express my sincere appreciation to Palau’s Council of Chiefs, Ministers, Attorney’s General and other officials who helped guide, assist and craft this landmark agreement. Likewise, many thanks are due to Ms. Kim Mc Coy, Director of Legal Affairs at Sea Shepherd for her prompt and productive efforts in helping finalize the agreement. Congratulations and thanks to all! 

Video Link:     
Interview with President Toribiong, Sea Shepherd and Palau Shark Sanctuary. Courtesy OTV Palau. 

Immediately below:   Press Releases and other links.

For immediate release
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society supports Palau in protection of marine sanctuary and law enforcement
Sea Shepherd to send one of its vessels to patrol the territorial waters of Palau

Koror, Palau, March 31, 2001 - The support of a high-tech vessel will have a significant impact on the marine law enforcement against illegal fishing practices after Palau declared its waters a marine sanctuary.

 On March 11, 2011, H.E. President Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau, Paul Watson, President and Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Steve Roest, Chief Executive Officer of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society signed a Memorandum of Agreement through which Sea Shepherd, a global marine conservation organization, will undertake an initial patrol campaign in the territorial waters of Palau and will provide advice in assessing options and best procedures for ongoing marine conservation operations. In addition, Sea Shepherd will fully fund the operations of its vessel M/Y Bob Barker, a former Norwegian whaler, and assets and will provide support and training to local authorities where needed or appropriate.

The well equipped conservation society taps into high-tech resources such as helicopter surveillance, drone (UAV) technology, fast interceptor boats, and radar tracking systems, putting the marine enforcement entity of Palau at par with the illegal fishing operations it is trying to fight since the implementation of the world’s first shark sanctuary in September 2009, followed by the extension to a complete marine sanctuary in November 2010.

Dermot Keane, Founder of non-profit organization Palau Shark Sanctuary, who established the contact between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Presidential Office of Palau, and signed the Memorandum of Agreement as a witness, comments: “This is a major milestone for Palau’s conservation efforts and clearly sends the right message to the world: our nation is serious about the enforcement of our marine protection laws, and with the help of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, even small nations can make a big difference.”