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Part I Overview and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

Part II Narrative (2017)

  1. Production sector
    • Marine sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
      • Fishing communities
    • Inland sub-sector
    • Aquaculture sub-sector
    • Recreational sub-sector
  2. Post-harvest sector
    • Fish utilization
    • Fish markets
  3. Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector
    • Role of fisheries in the national economy
    • Trade
    • Food security
    • Employment
    • Rural development
  4. Trends, issues and development
    • Constraints and opportunities
    • Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies
    • Research, education and training
      • Research
      • Education and training
    • Foreign aid
  5. Institutional framework
  6. Legal framework
  7. Annexes
  8. References

Additional information

  1. FAO Thematic data bases
  2. Publications
  3. Meetings & News archive

Part I Overview and main indicators

Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

Country briefPrepared: March, 2018

Palau has a population of 21 503 (in 2016), a land area of 488 km2, a coastline of 430 km, and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 629 000 km2.

Fisheries contribution to GDP in 2014 was recorded as USD 5.5 million, 2.2 percent of the national GDP. In 2015 exports of fish and fisheries products were valued at USD 0.5 million and imports at USD 2.3 million. Annual per capita consumption amounted to 60.9 kg in 2013. In 2015, 13 people were reported as employed in aquaculture and another 39 in marine coastal fisheries.

The geography of Palau exerts a large influence on fishing in the country. Marine life in Palau is abundant and diverse with over 1 300 species of tropical fish and over 700 different species of hard and soft corals in the lagoons and reefs. The most distinguishing features of the coastal area of Palau are the large amount of mangroves and coastal tourism.

Much of the coastal fishing activity is geared to producing for domestic urban markets, while the offshore fishing consists largely of tuna longlining for the export market. The latter is mainly operated by foreign vessels. The total fisheries production was estimated at 800 tonnes in 2016.

In 2015, the government announced plans to establish a 500,000 km2 reserve by 2021, making it the sixth largest fully protected marine area in the world and building on the marine reserve network already in place in Palau. With this addition, the country has announced that 80% of its EEZ will be closed by 2021to fishing and 20% will be open for domestic fishing only.

Almost all offshore tuna catches in the Palau zone are currently made by locally-based foreign longliners. These vessels range in size from about 16 to 27 metres in length. Most vessels are registered in Taiwan, Province of China, and Japan, with smaller numbers registered in Belize and Vanuatu. Coastal fishing in Palau is carried out on a commercial and subsistence basis. Techniques used include simple hand-collection to hook-and-line fishing, underwater spear-fishing, net fishing and trolling, most of which are conducted almost exclusively by men. In addition, there are some coastal fisheries that are export oriented: trochus and aquarium fish.



Milkfish farms have been developed in Ngatpang state and in the private sector, and their harvest commenced in 2009 with produce being sold at local markets in Koror. Aquaculture production of food milkfish in 2016 was estimated at 14 tonnes while 17 700 pieces of giant clams juvenile were produced as aquarium species for export.

Palau is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and central Pacific Ocean, and the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora (CITES). Palau is also a party to a number of treaties and agreements relating to the management of regional fisheries.
 
General geographic and economic indicators

Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data – Palau

    Source
Shelf area: 3 467 km²

Sea Around US:

http://www.seaaroundus.org/

Length of continental coastline: 1 519 km

World by Map

Fisheries GDP (2014): 2.2% National GDP Gillet, 20161
(1) Gillett, R. D. Fisheries in the Economies of Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Pacific Community (SPC), 2016.*Value converted by FAO as per UN currency exchange rate

Key statistics

Source
Country area460km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
Land area460km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
Inland water area-km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
Population - Est. & Proj.0.022millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area617 449km2VLIZ
GDP (current US$)292millionsWorld Bank. 2017
GDP per capita (current US$)13 417US$World Bank. 2017
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added3.15% of GDPWorld Bank. 2017

Source: FAO Country Profile

FAO Fisheries statistics

Table 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit and disseminated in 2017. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent statistics.



Table 2 — FAO fisheries statistics - Palau

      1980 1990 2000 2010 2014 2015 2016
EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 0.356 2.995 0.394 0.055 0.052 0.052
  Aquaculture 0.011 0.013 0.013 0.013
  Capture 0.356 2.995 0.383 0.042 0.039 0.039
    Inland
    Marine   0.356 2.995 0.383 0.042 0.039 0.039
                   
FLEET(thousands vessels)
                   
                   
Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
1) Due to roundings total may not sum up




Please Note:Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.

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Updated 2017Part II Narrative

Part II of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile provides supplementary information that is based on national and other sources and that is valid at the time of compilation (see update year above). References to these sources are provided as far as possible.

Production sector

The geography of Palau exerts a large influence on fishing in the country. The 343 islands of the Republic of Palau are diverse in geological origin and include volcanic, low platform, high platform and atoll types. The Republic includes the islands of Koror (the administrative centre and capital), Babelthuap (the largest island in terms of land mass, making up 78 percent of Palau’s land area), Angaur, Peleliu and several coral outer islands including Sonsorol, Tobi, Pulu Anna, Helen’s Reef and Merir to the southwest, and Kayangel to the north. More than 70 percent of the population resides in Koror.

Marine life in Palau is abundant and diverse with over 1 300 species of tropical fish and over 700 different species of hard and soft corals in the lagoons and reefs. Most coastal habitats and topographical features found anywhere in the Pacific Islands can be found in Palau. The most distinguishing features of the coastal area of Palau, as compared to that of most other Pacific Island countries, are the large amounts of mangroves, and coastal tourism.

Much of the coastal fishing activity is geared to producing for domestic urban markets, while the offshore fishing consists largely of tuna longlining by foreign fleets for the export market.

The major marine habitats of Palau and their approximate sizes are:
  • Mangroves – 45 km2
  • Inner reef – 187 km2
  • Outer reef – 265 km2
  • Lagoon – 1 034 km2
Fisheries statistics can be presented in different forms, to cater for different purposes. In the Palau statistics published by FAO (Part 1 of this profile), the presentation follows the international conventions and standards used by FAO and its Member States for reporting catches, which are given by the flag of the catching vessel. Accordingly, the fishery and aquaculture production of Palau in 2014 published by FAO (as given in Part 1) was 926 tonnes.

In Table 3 below, the Palau fishery production statistics include the catch by Palau-flagged vessels, the catch by small boats operated by nationals from Palau and the catch from fishing activities that do not involve a vessel (e.g. reef gleaning). The offshore category in the table is defined as the catch from Palau-flagged, industrial-scale fishing operations that are carried out anywhere in the western and central Pacific Ocean (i.e. inside or outside Palau waters).

Table 3: Palau fisheries production in 2014 (as per FAO reporting standards)

 AquacultureFreshwater

Coastal

commercial

Coastal

subsistence

Palau-flagged offshore
Volume (tonnes) 22 tonnes and 343 800 pcs18651 250100

Value

(USD)

285 00010 0003 200 0003 300 000375 000
Units: tonnes unless otherwise stated

The amounts of production given in the above table differ from those shown in Part 1. The table consists of the production estimated from a variety of sources (see SPC study below), whereas the quantities reported in Part 1 are generally what is reported to FAO by the Palau government. The major difference between the above table and Part 1 appears to originate from estimates of coastal fisheries production.

The fishery statistics of Palau are presented in a different way in a recent study by the Pacific Community (SPC). The SPC study reports the amount of catch in Palau fishery waters, regardless of vessel flag. In the study, the catches are placed in different categories, which is useful for other purposes, such as administration of the foreign fishing that occurs in the fishery waters of Palau. A summary of the fishery production from the SPC study is given in Table 4.

Table 4: Fisheries production in Palau waters

2014AquacultureFreshwater

Coastal

commercial

Coastal

subsistence

Offshore

locally

based1

Offshore

foreign-based2

     Both Palau- and foreign-flagged vessels
Volume (tonnes) 22 tonnes and 343 800 pcs18651 2503 9874 017
Value (USD)285 00010 0003 200 0003 300 00031 471 00018 555 070
Source: Gillett (2016)

Some comment is required to explain the difference between the information in this table and that in Part 1 of this profile:
  • Catches can be given by the flag of the catching vessel (as in the FAO statistics given in Part 1), or by the zone where the catch is made (the “offshore foreign-based” and “offshore locally based” columns in the table above). These two different ways of allocating catches each have their purposes. Attribution by flag is important for consistency with international conventions, while attribution by zone is important for determining fishing contributions to GDP, and managing revenue from license fees for foreign fishing in a country’s zone.
  • In Palau, there is no fisheries statistical system covering the categories of aquaculture and coastal subsistence/commercial fishing. The estimates above were made by a study carried out by SPC in 2015 that examined a large number of fishery and economic studies covering the last two decades.
  • Aquaculture production in Palau includes non-food items, such as coral and giant clams for the aquarium trade.


(1) In the SPC study, “offshore locally based” is the catch by industrial-scale tuna fishing operations that are (a) based at a port in Palau, and (b) generally harvested more than 12 nautical miles offshore.
(2) “Offshore foreign-based” is the catch in the Palau zone from catch from industrial-scale tuna fishing operations that are based at ports outside Palau. Under the international standardized System of National Accounts (SNA, 2009), those catches do not contribute to the GDP of Palau.Marine sub-sector

The marine fisheries have two very distinct components, offshore and coastal:
  • Offshore fisheries are undertaken on an industrial scale by locally based and foreign-based foreign-flagged vessels and sporadically by one locally based, Palau-flagged pole-and-line vessel.
Coastal fishing is primarily carried out for subsistence purposes and for sale of production in local markets. In addition, there are some coastal fisheries that are export oriented: trochus and aquarium fish.Catch profile

In the offshore fisheries, most fish is caught by longline gear. Table 5 gives, for recent years, the longline catches in Palau waters by species, by gear type and by nationality.

Table 5: Longline catches in Palau waters.

FlagYearCatch (tonnes)
  AlbacoreBigeyeYellowfinTotal

Belize

2011n/an/an/an/a
 20120617
 2013021720237
 20141421721252
 2015    

Japan

20114693237934
 2012118901331 034
 2013737961521 022
 20141497153651
 20151121284307

Chinese Taipei

201131 0619031 966
 201211 2398832 124
 201301 2326141 846
 201471 0315021 540
 20150414496910

Total

201171 7541 1402 900
 2012122 1361 0163 165
 2013732 2457863 104
 2014221 7456752 442
 2015116265801 217
Source: Modified from BOFM (2016)

The Bureau of Oceanic Fishery Management (BOFM 2016) gives features of the longline catch in recent years:
  • The total longline catch has been relatively stable ever since its peak of 5 000 tonnes in 2006.
  • The catch per unit of effort (CPUE) for the longline fleet of Japan in Palau waters has been gradually increasing after dropping in 2004.
  • The Chinese Taipei longline fleet has been stable ever since its high in the 1990s.
Purse-seine fishing in the Palau exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was minimal during 2015 and was mainly in the extreme south of the zone. The area of highest purse-seine effort does not generally overlap the areas of highest longline effort suggesting the spatial interaction between the longline and purse-seine fleets is relatively low.

The purse-seine fleet of Japan has been the dominant operator in the Palau EEZ with the fleet of the United States of America and vessels associated with Pacific Island countries active in some years (BOFM 2016). The Palau zone is located to the west of where most tuna purse seining in the Pacific Islands region occurs. FFA (2016) indicates that only 185 tonnes of tuna were captured by purse-seine gear in Palau’s waters in 2015.

Palau has been a leader in the Pacific Island region in the development of industrial offshore fisheries. Box 1 provides some of the history.

Box 1: History of industrial offshore fishing in Palau

Industrial tuna fishing in the waters of Palau has been an important activity for over 80 years - although Palauans have not been very involved during this time. The Japanese were the pioneers with pole-and-line activities for skipjack tuna across the Micronesian region which started in the late 1920s. Early production peaked in the Micronesian areas at 33 000 tonnes in 1937 with 75 percent of this coming from Palau and Chuuk. Industrial fishing however ceased during World War II and did not resume in Palauan waters until the US Van Camp Seafood Company transshipment base was established in 1964 in Koror supported by up to 15 locally based pole-and-line vessels. Landings peaked from 1978 to 1981 when an average of 6 600 tonnes of skipjack were caught annually. The pole-and-line activity was later replaced by the more cost-effective and competitive purse-seining method of tuna fishing forcing the Van Camp operation to close down in 1982. Japanese distant-water tuna longlining activity also started in the waters around Palau in the 1960s although effort was sporadic during the 1970s and 1980s. The initial target species was the larger yellowfin tuna. This changed over time with vessels setting their gear deeper to target the high-value bigeye tuna. The 1980s also saw Korea and Taiwan develop their distant-water longline fleets to supply fish to the Japanese market. Changes in Japanese consumer preference for fresh tuna over frozen tuna in the 1980s led to changes in the longline fleets with smaller vessels making shorter trips and using ice refrigerated sea water or brine for chilling the catch. The fish was landed to shore facilities for airfreight to Japan. Two companies established themselves in Palau: Palau International Traders Incorporated (PITI) in the late 1980s and Palau Marine Industries Corporation (PMIC) in the early 1990s. Both companies commenced their fishing operations by bringing in foreign vessels mainly from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). A third company Kuniyoshi Fishing Company (KFC) was established in the mid-1990s and mainly brought in Taiwanese or PRC vessels to supply them with fish.
Source: Friedman et al. (2009)

Coastal fishing in Palau is carried out using various types of vessels and gear on a commercial and subsistence basis. Techniques used include simple hand collection hook-and-line fishing underwater spearfishing net fishing and trolling most of which are conducted almost exclusively by men.

Although there have been numerous attempts to estimate the production in Palau from coastal fisheries (commercial and subsistence) there remains considerable uncertainty as to the annual harvest level. An SPC study in 2015 (Gillett 2016) reviewed the information available to make estimates of Palau coastal fisheries production and concluded that “the information available to the present study is inadequate for updating the historical estimates of coastal fisheries production in the country”. The coastal fisheries production was assumed by the study to be 2 115 tonnes of which 60 percent was for subsistence consumption.

The SPC study noted some of the factors that have affected coastal fisheries in recent years:
  • Tourism has expanded substantially. The number of visitors to Palau increased from 87 141 in 2007 to 125 417 in 2014 (Graduate School 2015).
  • In the past five years there have been periodic bans on the capture of certain fish species such as groupers (N. Idechong personal communication September 2015).
  • Because of the Helen Reef Management Project there is much less fish arriving in Koror from the Southwest Islands (A. Kitalong personal communication September 2015).
  • Two typhoons were especially destructive – Bopha in December 2012 and Haiyan in November 2013.
  • There has been a general decrease in abundance in the commonly targeted coastal fishery resources. This has been shown by a number of recent studies (Prince 2013; Gleason et al. 2014; and Moore et al. 2015).
  • The last trochus harvest was in 2013 when 350 tonnes were harvested (BBP 2014).


Landing sites

The locally based offshore fishing vessels generally offload their catch at the industrial port that services the Koror urban area. There are reports that some longliners occasionally deliver their catch to Davao in the Philippines. The catch from Japanese longlining in Palau waters is offloaded in Japan.

The catch from small-scale commercial fishing is offloaded mainly at Koror. Some is landed at other locations (i.e. at several places on Babelthuap) where it is delivered by truck to markets mainly in Koror.

Subsistence fishery landings occur at coastal villages and hamlets throughout the country roughly in proportion to the distribution of the population.
Fishing practices/systems

Table 6 gives the number of offshore fishing vessels operating in Palau waters by size nationality gear type and year. The Taiwanese longliners form the largest fleet.

Table 6: Offshore fleets

Year Flag Gear

No. of

vessels

0–500 501–1000 1001–1500 1500+

2013

Belize Longliner 1 1 0 0 0
  Japan Longliner 28 28 0 0 0
  Japan Purse seiner 5 5 0 0 0
  Taiwan Longliner 54 54 0 0 0

2014

Belize Longliner 1 1 0 0 0
  Japan Longliner 28 28 0 0 0
  Japan Purse seiner 21 21 0 0 0
  Taiwan Longliner 41 41 0 0 0
  Vanuatu Longliner 1 1 0 0 0

2015

Japan Longliner 19 19 0 0 0
  Japan Purse seiner 27 1 0 26 0
  Taiwan Longliner 31 31 0 0 0
  Vanuatu Longliner 2 2 0 0 0
Source: BOFM (2016); vessel size in gross registered tonnes

From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s there was a fleet of pole-and-line vessels based in Palau. Locally based pole-and-line fleets also existed in Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands and Fiji with the total number of vessels being about 100 to 120. For various reasons those fleets have declined. Today one of the few pole-and-line vessels in the entire region is the single vessel operating out of Koror. Box 2 describes the history and present operation of that vessel.

Box 2: Palau’s last pole-and-line vessel

The Kuniyoshi Fishing Company has operated a pole-and-line fishing vessel in Palau for several years. According to the company’s operation’s manager the fibreglass pole-and-line vessel “Marine Star” is 24 GRT and 15 m in length. Kuniyoshi has been operating the vessel since the 1990s. The “Marine Star” is the last of a fleet of Palau-based pole-and-line vessels that was at a maximum in the early 1980s.

Live bait is obtained at night by using bouki-ami gear in the area of the Rock Islands. The vessel generally attempts to fish for tuna 5 days per week. Currently the crew consists of seven Palauans and three Filipinos. A few years ago the percentage of foreign crew was greater.

The vessel’s managers indicate tuna catches have averaged 20 000 pounds per month (i.e. 108 metric tonnes per year) in the last few years. The SPC yearbook estimates that catches by the Palau vessel were 100 tonnes per year in the period 1992-2000. An average of 1 300 gallons (4 921 litres) of diesel is used per month and the current price paid is USD 4.06 per gallon.

The catch is disposed of in the company’s retail store adjacent to the office and residence of the owners. Some catch is sold on the roadside. Purchases at the retail shop are mostly for home consumption but some are for restaurants and institutions. Current prices are USD 1.00 per pound for both skipjack and yellowfin regardless of quantity.

The vessel management indicates that after the surge in fuel costs a few years ago the operation of the vessel is no longer profitable. They are not likely to continue operating a pole-and-line vessel after the present vessel is retired unless they can charter a vessel from the government on concessionary terms as was the case for the company’s first vessel. Knowledgeable Palauans from outside the company indicate that current operations are unlikely to be profitable but continue because the vessel supplies the company’s retail store with fish and provides employment associated with social obligations. Vessel operations will probably cease when the elderly owner passes away.

Source: Gillett (2011)

For coastal fishing most of the boat-based activities involve the use of small fishing craft typically from 4.8 to 7.6 m in length and powered by outboard motors. At least 25 percent of households in Palau own fishing boats and through the extended family system most fishers have access to a powered craft of this type. The completion of the road around the island of Babelthuap several years ago caused considerable change in the marketing of catch and made boat-owners shift landing places for their craft.

Coastal fishing in Palau is carried out on a commercial and subsistence basis using various types of vessels and gear. Friedman et al. (2009) state that traditional fishing methods included throwing spears the use of sea cucumber skin which emits a nerve toxin when rubbed (used to poison fish in shallow pools) a leaf sweep (rope or vine with leaves used to herd and capture fish) noose fishing for sharks a gorge (piece of wood sharpened at both ends and attached to a line in the middle) and stone and wooden fish weirs built on the reef flats.

In September 2015 SPC carried out a creel survey in southern Palau (Moore et al. 2015). That survey gave information on four types of coastal fishing (Table 7). In summary during the study night-time spearfishing was responsible for 48 percent of the total catch by abundance and 38 percent of the total catch by weight while handlining was responsible for 28 percent of the total catch by abundance and 26 percent of the total catch by weight.

Table 7: Data summary for the Palau creel survey

Gillnetting

Hand-lining

Daytime spearfishing

Night-time spearfishing

No. of landings where method encountered 3 14 3 9
Total number of fishers surveyed 13 24 9 18
Mean time spent fishing (hours) 4.7 ±0.9 4.0 ±0.2 8.5 ±0.3 3.7 ±0.3
Mean no. of fishers per trip 4.3 ±1.5 1.7 ±0.2 3.0 ±0.6 2.0 ±0.2
Average catch (number of fish) per trip 117 ±41 40 ±9 49 ±15 109 ±22
Average catch (kg) per trip 55 ±8 24 ±4 93 ±30 54 ±11
Average CPUEN by abundance (individuals fisher-1 hour fishing-1)

9.0 ±4.1

5.2 ±0.8

4.2 ±0.5

14.8 ±2.1

Average CPUEW by weight

(kg fisher-1 hour fishing-1)

3.7 ±1.3

3.2 ±0.4

7.8 ±0.8

7.4 ±1.1

Source: Modified from Moore et al. (2015)
Main resources

The composition of the catch of Palau’s longline fishery is given in Table 8.

Table 8: Composition of Palau’s tuna catch

 

Albacore

(% in catch)

Bigeye

(% in catch)

Yellowfin

(% in catch)

Total tuna catch

(tonnes)

20110.2%60.5%39.3%2 900
20120.4%67.5%32.1%3 165
20132.4%72.3%25.3%3 104
20140.9%71.5%27.6%2 442
20150.9%51.4%47.7%1 217
Source: Modified from BOFM (2016)

The bycatch from the longline fishery includes sharks/rays billfish mahimahi and barracuda.

FFA (2016) indicates that only 185 tonnes of tuna were captured by purse-seine gear in Palau’s waters in 2015. All of that was reported to be skipjack.

The four major species of tuna in Palau mix freely with those of the neighboring countries in the western and central Pacific. Recent information from the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC 2016) shows that for:

  • skipjack the stock is currently only moderately exploited and fishing mortality levels are sustainable.
  • bigeye recent analysis indicates that overfishing is occurring for the bigeye tuna stock and that to reduce fishing mortality to that at maximum sustainable yield a large reduction in fishing mortality is required.
  • yellowfin the current total biomass and spawning biomass are higher than at levels associated with maximum sustainable yields. Therefore yellowfin tuna is not considered to be in an overfished state.
  • albacore there is no indication that current levels of catch are causing recruitment overfishing particularly given the age selectivity of the fisheries. It should be noted that longline catch rates are declining and catches over the last 10 years have been at historically high levels and are increasing.
The Palau Conservation Society (PCS 2000) gives the important species in Palau’s coastal fisheries:

Table 9: Important species in Palau’s coastal fisheries

CategorySpecies

Local pelagic fish

Carangidae: Selar crumenophthalmus (bigeye scad/terekrik)

Elagatis bipinnulatus (rainbow runner/desui)

Sphyraenidae: (barracudas/ai/mordubech/lolou)

Scombridae: Rastrelliger kanagurta (striped mackerel/smach)

Scomberomorus commerson (Spanish mackerel/ngelngal)

Euthynnus affinis (kawakawa/soda)

Acanthocybium solandri (wahoo/keskas)

Mangrove crab Scylla serrata (mangrove crab/chemang)

Lobster

Panulirus longipes (melech)

P. penicillatus (raiklius)

P. versicolor (bleyached)

Trochus Trochus niloticus3 (semum)

Giant clam

all Tridacnidae including:

Tridacna crocea (oruer)

T. derasa (kism)

T. gigas (oktang)

T. maxima (melibes)

T. squamosa (ribkungel)

Hippopus hippopus (duadeb)

H. porcellanus (duadeb)

Sea cucumber

all Holothuriidae including:

Actinopyga mauritiana (badelchelid)

A. miliaris (cheremrum)

Holothuria fuscogilva (bakelungal cherou)

H. nobilis (bakelungal)

H. scabra (molech)

Stichopus variegatus (ngims)

Thelenota ananas (temetamel)

Other invertebrates

Birgus latro (coconut crab/ketat)

Cardisoma spp. (land crabs/rekung el beab)

Anodontia philippiana (mangrove clam/ngduul)

Gafrarium spp. (nut clam/delebekai)

Octopus spp. (octopus/bukitang)

Tripneustes gratilla (sea urchin/ibuchel)

Loligo spp. (squid/luut)

Sepia spp. (cuttlefish/milengoll)

Nautilus spp. (nautilus/kedarm)



Source: PCS (2000)

In general it can be stated that those coastal fish and invertebrate species that are sought after and are located in areas readily accessible to many fishers tend to be heavily exploited or overexploited. More recent information on the status of specific coastal fisheries resources includes:
  • Moore et al. (2015) – Results from this baseline assessment suggest that the coastal finfish fisheries of Palau appear to be moderately healthy at least when compared to elsewhere in the region. Overall catch rates and maximum ages of key species were generally comparable to or higher than those reported elsewhere in Micronesia while mortality rates were generally lower;
  • CCIF (2013) – Resources are in reasonably good health and spawning aggregations are still present in many areas. For example the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometapon muricatum) recovery (during a five-year harvest ban) has shown stocks have recovered to the point where a limited harvest may in theory be viable;
  • Rhodes et al. (2011) – Citing several sources the study indicates that recent examinations show that Palau’s fisheries are fully exploited and there is no evidence to suggest that current levels of fishing are sustainable.
Rhodes et al. (2011) examined nearshore fisheries management across Micronesia including Palau. The study showed that for Micronesia in general a number of key socio-economic drivers were found to contribute to marine resource declines: (1) the change from a subsistence to a cash economy; (2) an erosion of customary marine tenure; (3) a lack of political will for protecting marine resources; (4) an absence of effective responsive fisheries management; (5) increasing population pressures and demand for reef resources including for export; (6) undervalued reef and pelagic resources; (7) high external commodity costs; (8) unsustainable use of modernized fishing gear; (9) an erosion of traditional fishing ethics and practices; and (10) a paucity of educational and alternative employment opportunities.

(3) Also known as Tectus niloticus.
Management applied to main fisheries

The offshore fisheries in Palau are managed on national subregional and regional levels:

  • On the national level the management measures for the offshore fisheries of Palau are in the Palau National Tuna Fisheries Management Plan (described below).


  • On the subregional level Palau cooperates with the other countries that are members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (described below).


  • On the regional level Palau is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) that was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Palau and the other 26 members of the commission enact tuna management measures at the annual WCPFC meeting. From the Palau perspective the most important recent measure is the Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
A crucial aspect of the management of the offshore fisheries in Palau is the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and its Vessel Day Scheme. The early history of the PNA is given by Tarte (2002):

In February 1982 the Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest was opened for signature. The Nauru Agreement had been negotiated by seven Pacific Island states – Federated States of Micronesia Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru Palau Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. This group of countries (later joined by Tuvalu) is known collectively as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA). The conclusion of the Nauru Agreement marked the beginning of a new era in Pacific Island cooperation in the management of the region’s tuna stocks. It was an important milestone in the exercise of coastal state sovereign rights over their 200-mile EEZs. The PNA group accounts for much of the tuna catch in the Pacific island region. In 1999 it produced 98 percent of the tuna catch taken from the EEZs of Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency members; 70 percent came from three PNA members: PNG FSM and Kiribati. The group also accounted for 94 percent of the access fees paid to the FFA Pacific Island states. By controlling access to these fishing grounds the PNA group collectively wields enormous influence and power.

The most important fishery management tool of the PNA is the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) described in Box 3.

Box 3: PNA Vessel Day Scheme

In 2000 a study suggested that the PNA purse-seine management scheme that was then based on vessel numbers be replaced by a scheme based on purse-seine fishing days. The transition was actually made seven years later. In 2007 the Parties to the Nauru Agreement began implementing the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) transitioning from permitting a total number of purse-seine vessels in the region (205) to permitting a total allowable effort (TAE) in number of purse-seine fishing days (44 703 for 2012; 44 890 days for 2016). Given the volume value and multi-jurisdictional nature of the fishery it is arguably one of the most complex fishery management arrangement ever put in place. Some of the key features are as follows:

  • System of tradable fishing effort (days) allocated to the 8 Parties
  • Limit on total effort (TAE) ~ 45 000 days
  • TAE is allocated to Parties based on zonal biomass and historical effort as PAEs (Party Allowable Effort)
  • Fishing days are sold to fleets for fishing in each EEZ
  • There is a minimum benchmark price for VDS days sold to foreign vessels
  • Fishing days are monitored by a satellite-based Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
  • VMS monitoring is supported by observers on board all vessels
  • Days are tradable between Parties
  • Scheme costs are financed by levies on vessels

Due to the complicated nature of the new VDS system and the various constraints of the government fisheries agencies of the region (e.g. under-funded under-staffed) it was expected there would be problems in the introduction of the scheme. This is not to say that the VDS has not produced substantial benefits for PNA countries. The system is creating competition for a limited number of days thereby increasing the value of each day. In practice the value of a fishing day before the VDS was roughly USD 1 350 but it increased to about USD 5 000 in July 2011 and days were being sold in 2016 for over USD 12 000.

On a different and less tangible level another benefit is that the VDS moves fisheries management in the region to a desirable rights-based system. That is fishing rights (such as vessel days) can be defined allocated and traded. Consistent with this transition to a rights-based approach a VDS-style arrangement for management of the tropical longline fishery is being implemented by PNA.

Source: Havice (2013); Campling (2013); Gillett (2014); Clark and Clark (2014)

The most recent formally adopted tuna management plan is the Palau National Tuna Fisheries Management Plan 2001. This is a 39-page document with the first 18 pages dedicated to descriptions of the fisheries and resources and the legal regime. The substantive elements consist of the aims of the plan its scope and seven main objectives. A major feature of the plan is the establishment of the Palau Fisheries Policy Advisory Committee with responsibility for the formation coordination and implementation of the plan.

A major change in the management of Palau’s offshore fisheries occurred in October 2015 when the Palau Congress approved the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act establishing a large marine protected area (MPA). The legislation creating the sanctuary designates 80 percent of Palau’s territory as a fully protected marine reserve in which no extractive activities such as fishing or mining can take place. At 500 000 km2 the sanctuary becomes the sixth-largest fully protected marine area in the world. About 20 percent of Palau’s waters will become a domestic fishing zone reserved for local fishers and small-scale commercial fisheries with limited exports. This transformation of Palau’s EEZ will take place over a five-year period during which the number of licences sold to foreign commercial vessels will be decreased annually (www.pewtrusts.org).

The background of coastal fisheries management is given in Box 4.

Box 4: Background on coastal fisheries management in Palau

The transition to a cash-based economy was initiated in about the 1940s in Palau and resulted in rapid localized overfishing and the erosion of long-standing traditional customary marine tenure (CMT) systems. With the expansion of export markets and import of modern fishing gear and practices including motorized boats and improved fishing nets increased pressure on reef resources began. Erosion of traditional fishing mores and ethics also became a problem with fishers electing to catch fish for sale rather than for subsistence use. With this fundamental economic transition fishers became subject to external market forces including the export market. Foreign exporters began looking to Palau and other Micronesian jurisdictions that in the 1980s resulted in the rapid overfishing of fish spawning aggregations to supply the Southeast Asia-based live reef fish food trade. During the same period when the price of fuel or imports rose both competition and the need to increase volumes ensued. By the 1980s fishing for cash to purchase imported goods and cover rising occupational costs was a key driver of overfishing of near-shore reefs and lagoons in Palau. Moreover as in other locales gears and fishing methods became further modernized in the 1980s and 1990s including the increasing use of night-time spearfishing that led to overexploited stocks particularly in Koror State.

Unlike many other Micronesian jurisdictions Palau had several characteristics working in its favor to initiate and sustain conservation practices: (1) an eroded but still functional traditional management system (2) available funds to initiate and develop monitoring and enforcement activities particularly within Koror State (3) interest and drive among locally respected individuals who could champion conservation ideas and actions (4) world-class reefs and natural resources that while impacted from past natural disasters (e.g. 1998 El Niño) remain among the best in the region to lure tourists (5) a direct air link to Asia and other destinations rich in potential tourists (6) clear ownership rights of terrestrial and marine resources (7) a large reef area often difficult to access and (8) a relatively low population density. These and the pursuit of long-term conservation and development goals by Palau’s national and state governments allowed the initiation and growth of revenues for continued improvements to natural resource management.

Source: Modified from Rhodes et al. (2011)

In practice the management applied to coastal fisheries is shaped by the Palau constitution various laws covering fisheries activities the staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources Environment and Tourism NGOs and communities. The constitution gives the power to manage coastal fisheries in the zone up to 12 nautical miles offshore to the 16 states that make up the country. A salient issue that has considerable impact on the fisheries management strategy in Palau is the balancing of the nutritional tourism-related and export benefits of coastal resources. This sentiment has been expressed by an advisor to Palau: “First we eat them; second we play with them; third we let visitors eat and play with them and fourth we export them. In other words give first priority to fish consumption by Palauans resident in Palau; second priority to sport fisheries and recreation by Palauans; third priority to meeting the food and recreational needs of tourists; and finally fourth (only if the resource reserves permit) do we export them” (P. Callaghan).

CCIF (2013) reviews the strong and weak points of coastal fisheries management in Palau:

While a number of environmental champions have advanced specific efforts to conserve and manage nearshore fisheries and coastal marine resources actual capacity and focus of national level entities is lacking. The Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) has given priority to aquaculture livelihood development rather than fisheries management or conservation. This is partially due to its limited staffing: according to the current organization chart 23 positions out of 56 (40 percent) are vacant. The lack of national-level government support has led to the proliferation of non-governmental organization support for state-level efforts as well as for the provision of public services in lieu of the state. At the state level there is increasing recognition of the need to manage natural resources through a “ridge-to-reef” approach and the capacity for enforcement is generally improving as NGOs are increasingly developing the capacity of Conservation Officers. The outlook for the national and state government’s capacity to assume stronger control of natural resource management is positive but issues will need to be overcome such as the lack of available data regarding fishing pressure and activities as well as fish stock and health. The continued use of MPAs as the primary tool for management will not necessarily ensure that larger fisheries management goals are achieved – especially as the MPAs are located very close to shore and represent only a small portion of overall State waters.

Management objectives



Palau’s Medium Term Development Strategy states that the goal for aquaculture and fisheries is to achieve sustainable economic development and management of the marine and coastal resources of Palau. The expected outcomes of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Action Plan are:
  • development of marine resource income opportunities in a sustainable manner;
  • a greater role for the private sector in aquaculture;
  • improved returns from offshore fishing;
  • increased opportunities from the use of marine resources for tourism.
For the offshore fisheries the latest formally adopted tuna management plan has the following objectives:

  • Conserve fishery resources by controlling harvesting within international and regional recognized sustainable limits.
  • Establish an efficient government framework to harmonize application of fisheries management policies and practices.
  • Minimize detrimental impacts of fishing on coastal and inshore environment.
  • Attain an optimum balance in relation to access to the resource between all stakeholders.
  • Enhance the overall economic balance between: the necessity for government to generate revenue financial expectations of the commercial tuna fishery interests and the interests of other users of the resource.
  • Promote Palauans in professional administrative research and development positions in the fishery and related industries and government agencies.
  • Adhere to Palau’s regional and international marine resources agreements.


The management objectives of coastal fisheries are less formalized. In general the objectives of much management are to assure the sustainability of fishery resources for domestic food for recreation for Palauans and for viewing by tourists.

Management measures and institutional arrangements



The main management measure for the offshore fisheries (as stipulated in the Palau National Tuna Fisheries Management Plan) is a requirement for a fishing licence and conditions associated with that licence (i.e. payment of fees pollution controls). These measures are supplemented by a number of regional measures such as the PNA Purse-Seine Vessel Day Scheme (Box 3 above) and FFA’s Vessel Monitoring System.

Another management measure for offshore fisheries was introduced when the Palau Congress approved the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act. The actual management measure is the exclusion of extractive activities (including fishing) in 80 percent of Palau’s waters.

According to Moore et al. (2015) the management measures for coastal finfish fisheries in Palau are a mix of input and output controls regulated under the Marine Protection Act of 1994. They include:
  • a closed season on the possession and sale of five grouper species (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus E. polyphekadion Plectropomus areolatus P. laevis and P. leopardus) from April to October to protect these species during their spawning aggregation periods;
  • a ban on the possession (including harvest sale and export) of bumphead parrotfish Bolbometopon muricatum and humphead wrasse Chelinus undulatus;
  • a ban on the harvest sale and purchase of rabbitfish from February to March;
  • a ban on using any form of underwater breathing apparatus other than a snorkel for fishing;
  • a minimum legal mesh size of three inches (measured diagonally) for gillnets and surround nets;
  • a prohibition on fishing with a kesokes net4 with no bag portion or with the bag portion having a mesh size of less than three inches measured diagonally;
  • a prohibition on the retention or abandonment of a kesokes net having a mesh size of less than three inches measured diagonally.


There is a rich heritage of traditional fisheries management in Palau. Table 10 gives a list of the various management measures that have been used in the past.

Table 10: Some traditional management measures used in Palau

MeasureExists in 2011?

Traditional reef tenure: fishing rights are

controlled by chiefs for the benefit of villages which exercise the right to limit access to fishing grounds to their outer boundary

Yes. All but

Koror municipality

Power of chiefs to enforce traditional CMT laws Variable

Closures and bans

- Area closure (stocks): moratorium (bul) to manage

resources

- Season (stocks)

- Custom (funeral)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Punishment (e.g. for poaching)

- Chief of poacher’s village fined by Palau’s traditional high chiefs

- Clan of fisher poaching pay cash fine

- Boat/gear confiscation as punishment

Yes

Outsider access

- Temporary fishing permits

- Outsiders (neighbors) allowed to fish for subsistence purposes if ask permission

- Outsiders allowed to fish commercially if ask permission and pay portion of catch

- Outright gift of fishing grounds to other villages

- Fishing grounds shared by two villages

No

No

No

No

Ethics to avoid waste (take only what will be

consumed)

No

Restrictions on fishing on spawning aggregation

- Close areas w/aggregations

- Ban on harvesting of certain species

- Allow fish to spawn for ≥1 day before catch

- Stranded jacks returned to water during cod running

Yes

Yes

Source: Modified from Rhodes et al. (2011)

The institutional arrangements for management are discussed in section 8 below.

(4) This is the Palauan name for a V-shaped stationary barrier net.
Fishing communities

The concept of “fishing communities” has limited applicability to Palau. Nearly all households in the country are involved in coastal fishing activities. It could therefore be stated that all villages in Palau are “fishing communities”.
Inland sub-sector

There are no major freshwater fisheries but the larger islands of Palau (especially Babeldaob) have freshwater bodies that support small amounts of edible freshwater fish and invertebrates. Eels and shrimp are likely to be the most abundant of the edible freshwater animals. The capture of eels is not large due to cultural attitudes. Small amounts of freshwater shrimp are taken and consumed.There is no management dedicated to the tiny inland fisheries.
Aquaculture sub-sector

During four decades the culture in Palau of a large number of aquatic organisms has been attempted both by the government and in independent efforts. Aquaculture production in Palau is currently confined to milkfish giant clams and to a much lesser extent coral mangrove crab groupers and rabbitfish.

With regards to milkfish culture Palau has three farms: the Ngatpang State Milkfish Farm the Shallum Etpison Palau Aquaculture Project and the Melwert Tmetuchel Airai Fish Farm. These farms import fry from hatcheries in Taiwan or the Philippines for grow-out to supply both fresh fish to the public and baitfish for the tuna longline fishery (Pickering et al. 2013). According to staff of the Bureau of Marine Resources two of those farms sell about 225 kg about every two weeks at USD 6.00 per pound. The other milkfish farm is dedicated to producing bait. The latter sold 327 800 individual baitfish in 2014 (M. Tmetuchl personal communication September 2015).

With regards to giant clam culture there are about five to ten small companies that produce four different species. According to staff of the Bureau of Marine Resources 8–10 cm clams are worth USD 5.00 to 6.00 apiece and larger sizes are sold to local restaurants for USD 6.00 to 10.00 apiece. According to the CITES database a total of 19 173 live giant clams were exported from Palau in 2013. In 2014 one of the producers experienced difficulty in obtaining small clams for growing out (T. Watson personal communication September 2015).

The current aquaculture production of coral mangrove crab groupers and rabbitfish appears to be very small or non-existent.

An SPC study (Gillett 2016) attempted to use the above aquaculture information to estimate Palau’s 2014 production. It ventured an estimate of (a) 22 tonnes of milkfish plus 327 800 pieces worth about USD 200 000 at the farm gate  and (b) 16 000 pieces of giant clams (for both the aquarium and restaurant trade)  worth USD 85 000 at the farm gate – or a total 2014 production of 22 tonnes and 343 800 pieces  worth USD 285 000.

No discussion of aquaculture in Palau would be complete without mention of the Micronesian Mariculture Demonstration Center (Box 5).

Box 5: Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center

The Micronesian Mariculture Demonstration Centre (MMDC) was established in 1973 to serve the US-affiliated Pacific Islands by developing and demonstrating mariculture technology. MMDC later became the Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center (PMDC) and was used for mariculture training in the region as well as a marine science research laboratory. Trochus and soft corals were cultured for reseeding research but also giant clams and soft corals were sold to the aquarium market. The facility also supported a handful of giant clam grow-out sites around Palau in the 1990s. The hawksbill turtle hatchery and ranching project that started in the early 1980s was terminated in the early 1990s and replaced with turtle research and a public education programme.
Source: Modified from Friedman et al. (2009)

The main aquaculture management measure is the requirement for an aquaculture permit for all facilities.
Recreational sub-sector

In Palau there is recreational fishing for both Palau residents and for tourists. Residents participate in fishing as a casual leisure activity. In addition there is an active game-fishing association. One major fishing derby and a few small fishing derbies are held each year in Palau.

There are about 10 vessels that occasionally participate in commercial sport fishing for tourists but only a few vessels are employed primarily in this business. Most commercial sport fishing for tourists involves pelagic trolling outside the reef but there has been promotion of inshore catch-and-release sport fishing by the Palau Conservation Society.
Post-harvest sector

Fish utilization

In general offshore fishing is export oriented. The high-quality fresh bigeye and yellowfin is typically exported for sashimi with the albacore going to canneries. Much of the longline bycatch is for domestic use.

With respect to the disposal of the catch from coastal fisheries because subsistence fishing remains a major activity (about 60 percent of the coastal catch by volume) much is utilized by the household that makes the catch. The remainder of the coastal catch is used for local retail markets the hotel/restaurant trade in Palau and for export. The latter category is largely exported as baggage taken by travellers to family and friends in Guam and Honolulu. The distribution channel for trochus is quite different with the meat being utilized locally and the shell for the manufacture of mother-of-pearl buttons. Most of the giant clam exports are for the ornamental aquarium trade.
Fish markets

In Palau all fresh chilled sashimi-grade tuna once offloaded and packed is air-freighted within 24 hours to sashimi markets in Japan (95 percent) the US mainland and Taiwan Province of China. The albacore for canning goes mostly to Asian canneries (mainly in Thailand) but occasionally it is canned in American Samoa.

Although subsistence fishing remains a major activity the economic growth of Koror tourism development the increasing availability of non-fisheries-related employment and a large foreign labour force have together resulted in the establishment of a cash market for fresh fish and other seafoods. These markets are located mainly in the Koror urban area but some small markets exist in the main residential areas of the states.

Trochus button manufacturing occurs in Asia and Europe with the specific destination dependent on price. Marine ornamentals (aquarium fish juvenile giant clams) are for markets in the USA.
Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector

A recent study by SPC (Gillett 2016) attempted to quantify the fishery-related benefits received by Palau and other Pacific Island countries. The study gave the available information on the contribution of fishing to GDP exports government revenue employment and nutrition. Unless otherwise noted the information in this section is from that study.

Role of fisheries in the national economy

The FY 2014 Palau Statistical Compendium (including the national accounts) was prepared by the Graduate School USA Pacific Islands Training Initiative Honolulu Hawaii in collaboration with the Office of Planning and Statistics Ministry of Finance Republic of Palau. The Statistical Compendium contains the official estimate of the fishing contribution to the GDP of Palau. The SPC study examined the official methodology and using its independent estimate of the value of fisheries production re-estimated the fishing contribution.

  • The official contribution showed a FY 2014 fisheries contribution to GDP of USD 5.5 million or 2.2 percent of GDP.
  • The contribution of fishing to GDP was re-estimated by the SPC study for the year 2014. It showed a contribution of USD 11.5 million or 4.6 percent of GDP.
  • The major difference between the official and SPC estimates is that the official estimate includes industrial fish processing and excludes the operations of the locally based foreign-flagged industrial fishing vessels. The SPC methodology follows more closely the conventions of the International Monetary Fund and the standardized System of National Accounts (SNA 2009).
Unpublished data from Palau’s Bureau of Oceanic Fisheries Management indicates that in 2014 USD 3.6 million was received by the Palau government as access fees for foreign fishing in Palau waters. This represents about 3.3 percent of all government revenue.
Trade

The official statistics on exports from Palau are given in the Republic of Palau FY 2014 statistical appendices (Graduate School 2015). A summary of the export items of relevance to fisheries are given in Table 11.

Table 11: Palau exports (USD millions)

  FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014
Exports of goods 12.8 15.0 14.4 19.1
Re-exports 11.2 12.8 13.1 17.8
Fuel 10.2 11.7 10.2 11.5
Other mostly capital goods 1.0 1.1 3.0 6.3
Other exports 1.6 2.3 1.3 1.3
Exports of services 102.8 104.0 125.7 142.4
Fish processing 1.1 1.5 1.5 1.2
Source: Graduate School (2015)

From the information in Table 11 it appears that the overseas shipment of the catch of locally based foreign-flagged offshore vessels is not considered an export of the country in the official statistics but rather the fish processing of that fish is considered an export of a service. The value of the service in the table (USD 1.2 million) appears to be about 11 percent of the FOB value of the fish exported (as estimated below). The exports of “other goods” on the table is not disaggregated to the point of being able to determine reef fish exports and it is unclear whether fish exports as passenger baggage are part of the official exports.

Alternatively FAO data on Palau’s imports/exports of fishery products for 2013 indicate that Palau imported USD 1.8 million of fishery products and exported products worth USD 0.4 million. It is likely that those exports consisted only of the officially documented exports (e.g. aquarium products and trochus) 5. As shown in Part 1 of this profile for 2014 FAO reported the value of USD 0.6 million for fisheries exports and USD 2.1 million for fisheries imports.
Food security

Fish is an important element of food security in Palau. Although Palau has a high GDP per capita relative to other countries in the region implying considerable ability to purchase food much of the national prosperity is based on payments from the USA – income that will not continue in perpetuity. This fact in conjunction with a high per capita consumption of fish attests to the large importance of fish in national food security.

Bell et al. (2009) used information from household income and expenditure surveys (HIES) conducted between 2001 and 2006 to estimate patterns of fish consumption in Pacific Island countries. The HIES were designed to enumerate consumption based on both subsistence and cash acquisitions. For the whole of Palau the annual per capita fish consumption (whole weight equivalent) was 33.4 kg of which 78 percent was fresh fish. For rural areas the per capita consumption of fish was 43.3 kg and for urban areas 27.8 kg.

The SPC PROCFish programme surveyed four locations in Palau that were representative of the country in terms of fisheries conditions (Friedman et al. 2009). In terms of fish consumption (fresh fish invertebrates and canned fish) the annual per capita results were as follows: Ngarchelong 73.1 kg Ngatpang 72.0 kg Airai 81.7 kg and Koror 86.8 kg or an average of 78.4 kg across the four sites.

In terms of consumption of pelagic fish in Palau the locally based offshore fishing operations sell fish locally and donate some fish for various activities in Palau. During the most recent five-year period a total of 68.3 tonnes was donated and 349.6 tonnes were sold from the longline companies (Bureau of Oceanic Fishery Management unpublished data). The single pole-and-line vessel had recent average annual catches of about 100 tonnes (Gillett 2015). This equates to 518 tonnes of fish entering the Palau food supply each year from locally-based offshore fishing.

(5) According to the CITES database a total of 19 173 live giant clams were exported from Palau in 2013. At USD 5.50 per clam that represents an FOB value of about USD 105 451. The last Palau trochus harvest was in 2013 when products with an FOB value of USD 350 000 were exported (BBP 2014).

Employment

The statistical appendices for FY 2014 (Graduate School 2015) have information on employment in Palau obtained through Social Security and tax records which therefore relates to formal wage-paying jobs. Table 12 summarizes the fisheries-relevant information in the appendices.

Table 12: Information relating to formal jobs in the fishing sector

  FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014
Number of fishing workers 92 87 85 81 83
Total number of workers in Palau 10 044 9 931 9 973 10 108 10 386
Fishing workers as a % of all workers 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 0.8% 0.8%
Fishing workers that are Palau citizens 22 19 19 15 17
Palau citizen fishing workers as a % of all fishing workers 23.9% 21.8% 22.4% 18.5% 20.5%
Fishing average wages (USD) 4 434 4 589 4 856 4 983 5 459
All workers average wages (USD) 8 541 8 898 9 188 9 265 9 950
Fishing wages as a % of average wages 51.9% 51.6% 52.9% 53.8% 54.9%
Source: Graduate School (2015). Note: number of workers includes both full-time and part-time workers

From the table it can be seen that in Palau formal employment in the fishing sector is characterized by the small proportion of people formally employed – most are not Palau citizens – and relatively low wages which are about half the average wage in the country. It should be noted however that informal employment in fisheries (i.e. work not registered with Social Security) is likely to be substantial.

FFA (2015) has information on the employment of Palauans in the tuna industry (Table 13). A total of 36 Palauans were employed in the tuna industry in 2014. Across the Pacific a total of 17 663 people were employed as crew on tuna vessels or in tuna processing. Tuna industry employment in Palau represents 0.2 percent of regional tuna industry employment.

Table 13: Employment of Palauans in the tuna industry

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Local crew on vessels 3 0 0 0 0 0
Processing and ancillary 8 7 84 70 36 36
Total 11 7 84 70 36 36
Source: FFA (2015)

Although formal employment in the fishing sector is small in Palau many people have non-formal fishing jobs and there is much involvement in subsistence fishing. The SPC PROCFish programme surveyed four locations in Palau that were representative of the country in terms of fisheries conditions (Friedman et al. 2009). The survey showed that in Koror 62.7 percent of households were involved with reef fisheries in Ngarchelong 62.7 percent in Ngatpang 88 percent and in Airai 77.8 percent. The PROCFish work in Palau also showed that 68 percent of fishers were men and 32 percent were women.
Rural development

The Bureau of Marine Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources Environment and Tourism has several activities relevant to rural development including placement of two or three FADs per year conducting training in fishing around FADs promotion of ice plants in rural areas and promotion of clam farming.

The Palau Conservation Society (PCS) carried out the Inshore Sport Fishery Development Project in cooperation with the US Government The Nature Conservancy and the Palau Government. The aim of the project was to conserve and make the best use of the diversity and abundance of Palau’s reef fishes by developing a community-based sport-fishing industry primarily in the non-urban areas of Palau.
Trends, issues and development

Constraints and opportunities

Some of the major constraints for the fisheries sector are as follows:
  • Expansion of the fisheries sector (for both coastal and offshore fisheries) is often constrained by real and imagined interaction with the tourism sector.
  • Although there is considerable employment in the tuna industry few Palauans are willing to accept those types of jobs.
  • Given the proximity of the country to Asia the demand for coastal fishery products by affluent overseas consumers could easily deplete resources to the detriment of domestic fish consumption and tourism.
  • Considering the substantial support given to aquaculture over the last four decades the lack of economic activities in this field is disappointing.


The constraints can also be viewed from a national planning perspective. Palau’s Medium Term Development Strategy states that the main problems in the marine resource sector in Palau relate to: i) completion and adoption of various policies and legislation that are well advanced; ii) effective enforcement of legislation and regulations; iii) development and implementation of a nation-wide quarantine plan; iv) confirmation and implementation of offshore fisheries policy with emphasis on ensuring that the offshore sector optimizes its contribution to the economy of Palau; v) the overstretched capacity of the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) and its role in commercial activities; vi) the need to privatize the giant clam programme operated by the Palau Mariculture Demonstration Center under the BMR; and vii) ensuring the environmental sustainability of inshore fisheries.

Opportunities in the fisheries sector include:
  • enhancing the input of the private sector into the functioning of the Bureau of Marine Resources;
  • enhancing linkages between the fisheries and tourism sectors including sport fishing and provision of value-added fishery products to the tourism industry;
  • improving access by small-scale fishers to the tuna resources;
  • improving fish handling/processing in coastal fisheries.
Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies

Palau’s Medium Term Development Strategy comments on the government’s fishery policies:

The most important action required to be addressed for inshore fisheries is to develop and implement a policy that provides a sustainable framework that balances the needs of all users. The policy needs to consider the sustainable development of all fishery activities (subsistence artisanal and commercial) while also ensuring the sustainable management and conservation of these resources. Palau has made considerable advances in developing policies and a legal institutional framework to protect manage and use its inshore natural resources. These policies need to be further developed through stakeholder participation to reflect the conservation management and economic use of these resources to achieve the nation‘s aspirations for this sector.

To some degree the objectives of Palau’s tuna management plan can be considered indicative of government policy for the offshore fisheries. These objectives are as follows:
  • Conserve fishery resources by controlling harvesting within international and regional recognized sustainable limits.
  • Establish an efficient government framework to harmonize application of fisheries management policies and practices.
  • Minimize detrimental impacts of fishing on the coastal and inshore environment.
  • Attain an optimum balance in relation to access to the resource between all stakeholders.
  • Enhance the overall economic balance between the necessity for government to generate revenue financial expectations of the commercial tuna fishery interests and the interests of other users of the resource.
  • Promote Palauans in professional administrative research and development positions in the fishery and related industries and government agencies.
  • Adherence to Palau’s regional and international marine resource agreements.
The above policy indications will change considerably with the phased implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act establishing a large MPA. The legislation creating the sanctuary designates 80 percent of Palau’s territory as a fully protected marine reserve in which no extractive activities such as fishing or mining can take place. This represents a major shift in Palau’s fishery policies. The President of Palau in announcing the signing of the Act stated:

“…Our future lies in tourism not tuna. Science has shown over and over again that our global ocean resources are declining and if we do not take drastic action to protect these resources they will be gone – if not in our generation then in our children’s. As Palauans we depend on the Ocean for our identity our culture our food and our economy. Shifting our way of thinking from merely allowing foreign interests to continue to harvest our limited resources to protecting them for the future is a step we must take. Science has also shown that by creating marine protected areas and allowing marine life in those areas to regenerate the “spill over” also promotes the health of surrounding areas. Declaring 80 percent of our EEZ as a no-take zone will allow the marine life in that area to rebound and spill over into the 20 percent domestic fishing area where our local fishermen can harvest them. This will alleviate some of the fishing pressure on our near-shore reefs as well as create a healthy marine environment for our growing diving and sport-fishing industry.”

The most active Palauan NGO that deals with marine resources is the Palau Conservation Society (PCS). The Palau Conservation Society Strategic Plan 2010–2015 shows some of their core policies:

PCS’s mission highlights our commitment to the environment and to Palauan communities. We believe strongly in maintaining and perpetuating the Palauan conservation ethic to existing generations and beyond. We respect the Palauan culture and the science of conservation. We rely on partnerships. We are a community‐based organization that implements conservation activities through partnerships. Palau has a good enabling environment. There are national frameworks that support community‐based conservation such as the Protected Areas Network. PCS’s strategies capitalize on this enabling environment. However there are critical threats particularly from habitat loss and degradation from unsustainable development and overharvesting of critical species. PCS’s strategies focus on these priority threats. In 2010–2015 PCS will focus on the conservation targets of coral reef ecosystems forested ecosystems mangroves and seagrass.
Research, education and trainingResearch

A very large number of fisheries research projects have been carried out in Palau. Most areas of Palau and most types of fisheries resources have been covered by various research endeavors. The older research is listed in a bibliography of Palau marine resources (Izumi 1988). The results of many of the research projects are summarized by resource in profiles of the Palau fisheries (Nichols 1991).

Friedman et al. (2009) reviewed aspects of research in Palau relevant to fisheries. They indicated that Palau’s reefs and resources are relatively well studied compared to those of other island countries in the region. A comprehensive ecological survey (Maragos et al. 1994) documented the status of Palau’s reef resources (fish and invertebrates). A more recent assessment of the resource status of Helen Reef by Birkeland et al. (2000) documents the status of resources in the area. A review of the results of modern biological surveys of different reef resources the environment and fisheries production in Palau is provided by Fitzpatrick and Donaldson (2007). Sea cucumbers and echinoderms are documented by Maragos et al. (1994) and the invertebrates of Airai State were surveyed by Kitalong (2003). Many research activities in Palau are conducted by the Palau Conservation Society with funding from its corporate partners. Research in the aquaculture sector especially for clams and trochus has been supported by the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture including technical support and capacity building. The Palau Community College is involved in research on various types of aquaculture.

Current fisheries research in Palau by the Bureau of Marine Resources and other government agencies includes research on tuna bycatch the marine biology of the Northern Reefs the efficacy of several MPAs subsistence fishing coral disease vulnerable marine species (crocodiles dugongs and sea turtles) and spawning/culture techniques (giant clams groupers and rabbitfish).

Major issues in fisheries research are translating research needs into research activities analysis of data collected by research projects and funding for research.

Under Palau’s Regulations on the Collection of Marine Resources for Aquaria and Research there is a requirement for a research permit: “In order to monitor and encourage appropriate marine-related research a Marine Research Permit system has been put in place. Anyone wanting to engage in any marine-resource-related research such as scientific maricultural or medical research must apply for a Marine Research Permit and comply with any other applicable national or state law or regulation”.
Education and training

Education related to fisheries and marine resources in Palau is provided by a variety of institutions:
  • Basic aspects of fisheries science are taught in the Palau Community College’s (PCC) Environment and Marine Sciences Program. Courses include marine biology and oceanography.
  • PCC also has practical courses of study related to fisheries such as the Small Engine and Outboard Marine Technology Programme.
  • Academic training in biological economic and other aspects of fisheries is given to Palau students at the University of Guam and the University of the South Pacific in Suva.
  • Training courses are frequently organized by the major regional organizations involved in fisheries: SPC in New Caledonia and FFA in the Solomon Islands.
  • Courses and workshops are also given by NGOs and bilateral donors such as those by Japan.
  • Many government fisheries officers and other professionals have received advanced degrees in fishery-related subjects at overseas universities especially in Guam Hawaii and mainland USA.
Foreign aid

Palau has enjoyed fisheries sector assistance from a range of multilateral and bilateral donors. Support has included the funding of expatriate staff positions within the Bureau of Marine Resources construction of aquaculture facilities fisheries infrastructure (docks refrigeration facilities) equipment costs the provision of vessels collaborative research sector planning studies travel costs for training and attendance at meetings and hardware and training related to fisheries surveillance.

Important donors have included the US Department of the Interior (through Sea Grant) the US Department of Commerce (Saltonstall-Kennedy allocations) the US Peace Corps the Japanese Government (through the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation) and the Pacific Aquaculture Association. Other donors have included UNDP New Zealand and Canada. Australia has been especially generous in providing fisheries surveillance assistance to Palau (Box 6).

Box 6: Australian support for fisheries surveillance

Under the Defence Cooperation and Pacific Patrol Boat Programs Australia provides a wide variety of assistance to Palau and other Pacific Island countries to help them protect their EEZs and promote regional security. Specifically Australia provided Palau with the patrol vessel Remeliik in 1996. Australia also constructed the current Division of Marine Law Enforcement (DMLE) headquarters in 2001 and constructed the patrol boat wharf in 2002. Australia provides two full-time advisors to Palau: a Maritime Surveillance Advisor and a Technical Advisor. They provide advice to the Chief of DMLE and the Director of the Bureau of Public Safety on the maintenance operation and employment of Remeliik administer Australian support to DMLE and advise the Chief of DMLE on the conduct of surveillance operations. Australia also provides ongoing support including: (1) annual fuel funding for all FFA operations and some national operations; (2) funding for approved projects requested by DMLE in support of Remeliik for example additional kit/equipment warehouse construction building renovations and US Coast Guard training; (3) training of DMLE personnel at the Australian Maritime College via a continuum of progressive courses specific to Pacific class patrol boats on subjects such as mechanical engineering electrical engineering seamanship cooking and hygiene navigation bridge watch-keeping general management and fisheries boardings; and (4) availability of broader courses.
Source: Pew (2015)

Much of the fisheries sector assistance in the past has been channelled through the Bureau of Marine Resources. Recently the Palau Conservation Society has obtained an increasing amount of marine-related overseas aid.

Private foundations are making significant contributions to marine conservation projects in Palau. They include the MacArthur Foundation Packard Foundation and Wallis Foundation which are based in the United States and the Keidanren Foundation Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Peace Foundation based in Japan.
Institutional framework

Following the dissolution of the 1980 Palau Fishing Authority in 1997 the main responsibility for coastal fisheries development and management has been vested in the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR). The BMR is currently administratively under the Ministry of Natural Resources Environment and Tourism.

The BMR’s work programme covers a range of different activities in the field of fisheries and marine conservation. The Bureau is headed by a Director and has a staff of about 35 people. It currently has three divisions:

  • Division of Oceanic Fishery Management
  • Division of Information and Data Management
  • Division of Marine Resources Development


As to actual functions the BMR implements national-level fisheries management measures. The 16 state governments control all resources from the shoreline up to 12 nautical miles offshore (except for the tuna resources). The Ministry has the duties functions and authority to: (a) adopt regulations for the conservation management and exploitation of all living resources in the contiguous zone and EEZ of the Republic of Palau; (b) negotiate and conclude foreign fishing agreements; (c) issue foreign fishing permits; and (d) perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary. BMR determines the annual total allowable level of foreign fishing permitted with respect to specific fisheries. The regulations establish the total allowable level of foreign fishing catch limits and allocation so as to ensure the long-term sustainability and health of fish stocks populations of living resources and reef fish and submerged reefs within the territorial sea internal waters contiguous zone and Palau’s EEZ. The Bureau generates fisheries data through a robust data collection and verification system. These data come from required information submitted for licensing fishing conditions catch and landing data and the Observer Programme in the form of logsheets port sampling forms unloading forms port visit logs telex reports and observer reports. Data collection enables Palau to meet its reporting obligations to national and regional fisheries management organizations (Pew 2015).

Other agencies with involvement in the fisheries sector of Palau include the following:
  • The Division of Marine Law Enforcement is the primary enforcement authority for Palau’s foreign fishing laws. The division enforces all laws and regulations related to fishing environmental protection and illicit narcotic trafficking and is responsible for surveillance of territorial waters and the 200-mile EEZ including enforcement of national laws and international treaties (Pew 2015).
  • Law-enforcement and compliance with the coastal fisheries legislation is the responsibility of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and state government patrol officers.
  • Community outreach and environmental awareness are carried out in conjunction with the Palau Conservation Society the Palau International Coral Reef Center and the Coral Reef Research Foundation.
  • Academic and vocational training and research trials are carried out by the Palau Community College.
  • The Palau Visitor Authority is the government agency responsible for marine tourism operators and industry standards.
  • The Palau Sports Fishing Association supports the game-fishing industry.
  • The Environmental Quality Protection Board reviews any coastal development project that may potentially impact on fisheries.
Important internet links related to fisheries in Palau include:

The major regional institutions involved with fisheries are the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) located in Honiara and the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea. Other players are the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Office in Majuro the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva. The characteristics of those institutions are given in Table 14.

Table 14: Pacific Island regional organizations involved in fisheries

  FFA SPC Other regional organizations with fishery involvement
Main area of emphasis Providing management advice on tuna fisheries and increasing benefits to Pacific Island countries from tuna fishing activities. Most aspects of coastal fisheries and scientific research on tuna. Fisheries are only one aspect of SPC’s work programme which also covers such issues as health demography and agriculture.

PNA – subregional grouping of countries where most of the purse seining occurs;

SPREP – environmental aspects of fisheries;

USP – School of Marine Studies (SMS) is involved in a wide range of training;

PIFS – major political initiatives some natural resource economics; leads trade negotiations with the EU which have a major fisheries component.

Inter-regional relationships

The FFA/SPC relationship has had ups/downs over the years. It has been most difficult in early 1990s tremendous improvement in mid/late 1990s.

An annual colloquium has helped the relationship. Staff who have moved between the two organizations have made a noticeable improvement in understanding.

Much of the success/benefits achieved by FFA/SPC cooperation depends on the personalities of FFA’s Director/Deputy and SPC’s Director of the Division of Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems.

At least in theory all regional organizations come under the umbrella of PIFS. Their activities are coordinated to some degree by the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) which has a Marine Sector Working Group that meets at least once per year but is limited by lack of resources for follow-up.

FFA originally provided secretariat services to the PNA but the PNA broke away from FFA in 2010. Currently there are some sensitivities in the relationship – but it appears to be improving.

Main strengths Direct contact with its governing body many times per year results in a high degree of accountability. Mandate of tight focus on tuna eliminates considerable dissipation of effort. Noumea being a pleasant place to work there is considerable staff continuity. The Oceanic Fisheries Programme often sets the standard for tuna research in the world. Documentation of work is very good.

Because PIFS is under the national leaders it is considered the premier regional organization.

PNA has achieved considerable success and credibility in such areas as raising access fees 100 percent observer coverage eco-certification high seas closures and controls on FADs.

USP is centrally located in the region and its SMS has substantial infrastructure.

SPREP has close ties to NGOs active in the marine sector.

Membership Australia and New Zealand plus Cook Is. FSM Fiji Kiribati Marshall Is. Nauru New Zealand Niue Palau PNG Samoa Solomon Is. Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu and Vanuatu Includes the major metropolitan countries all Pacific Island countries and the French/UK/US territories; the most inclusive of any regional organization.

PNA: FSM Kiribati Marshall Is. Nauru Palau PNG Solomon Is. and Tuvalu.

USP: Cook Is. Fiji Kiribati Marshall Is. Nauru Niue Samoa Solomon Is. Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

SPREP: 21 Pacific Island countries and territories plus Australia France New Zealand and USA.

PIFS: same as FFA

Source: Adapted from Gillett (2014)

The Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean entered into force in June 2004 and established the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Palau is a member of the commission along with 26 other countries. The WCPFC has its headquarters in Pohnpei Federated States of Micronesia and has held 13 annual meetings to date.

Legal framework

Under Article I Section 2 of the Constitution each state in Palau has exclusive ownership of all living and non-living resources except highly migratory fish from the land to 12 nautical miles seaward of the baseline. Article X Section 5 of the Constitution states that the national government holds the right to regulate ownership exploration and exploitation of natural resources and to regulate the use of navigable waters.

The main law in Palau for specifically dealing with fisheries is Title 27 of the Palau National Code. Title 27 has several chapters including Chapter 1 (Fishery Zones and Regulation of Foreign Fishing) Chapter 2 (Monitoring of Foreign Vessels in the Exclusive Economic Zone) and importantly Chapter 12 which is the Marine Protection Act of 1994.

The stated purpose of the Marine Protection Act is to promote sustainable development of the marine resources of the Republic while also preserving the livelihood of the commercial fishers of the Republic. The law defines important terms specifies certain prohibited acts (the main regulatory provisions of the law are listed in Box 7) gives the requirements for permits for taking aquarium fish gives the power to the Minister to make regulations to carry out the purposes of the Act stipulates a requirement and regulations for export labelling/reporting specifies the enforcement provisions and establishes penalties.

Table 14: Pacific Island regional organizations involved in fisheries

It shall be unlawful for any person within the fishery zones of the Republic to:

(1) fish for commercial purposes for sell or buy any of the following species of groupers (temekai tiau) from April 1 to July 31 inclusive: (a) Plectropomus areolatus (tiau) (b) P. leavis (tiau katuu'tiau mokas) (c) P. leopardus (tiau) (d) Epinephelus microdon (ksau'temekai) (e) E. fuscoguttatus (meteungerel'temekai)

(2) fish for commercial purposes for sell or buy any of the following species: (a) Juvenile parrotfish - Bolbometopon muricatum (Berdebed) which means for purposes of this Act a parrotfish less than 25 inches in length; and (b) Juvenile wrasse - Cheilinus undulatus (Ngimer) which means for purposes of this Act a wrasse less than 25 inches in length.

(3) Commercially export or fish for sell or buy for commercial export the following species: (a) Adult parrotfish - Bolbometopon muricatum (Kemedukl); and (b) Adult wrasse - Cheilinus undulatus (maml).

(4) fish for commercial purposes for sell or buy rabbitfish (Meyas Siganus canaliculatus) from March 1 to May 31 inclusive;

(5) fish for commercial purposes for sell or buy the following species of rock lobsters (cheraprukl): raiklius bleyached or melech smaller than six (6) inches in total length of the carapace as measured from the tip of the rostrum midway between the eyes to the end of the carapace or a berried female of any size whatsoever;

(6) fish while using any form of underwater breathing apparatus other than a snorkel;

(7) commercially export black teatfish (Holothuria nobilis (bakelungal)) white teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva (bakelungal)) prickly redfish (Thelenota ananas (temetamel)) surf redfish (Actinopyga mauritiana (badelchelid)) sandfish (Holothuria scabra (molech delal a molech)) humphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum (kemedukl berdebed)) coconut crab (Birgus latro (ketat)) mangrove crab (Scylla serrata (chemang)) rock lobster (Panulirus longipes fermoristriga Panulirus versicolor Panulirus penicillatus (cheraprukl)) and wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus (ngimer maml)) except cultured species thereof;

(8) commencing one year after the effective date of this Act commercially export sea cucumbers (Actinopyga miliaris (cheremrum)) except cultured species thereof;

(9) buy or sell any coconut crab (Birgus latro) smaller than four (4) inches in the greatest distance across the width of its carapace or a berried female coconut crab of any size whatsoever;

(10) buy or sell any mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) smaller than six (6) inches in the greatest distance across the width of its carapace or a berried female of any size whatsoever;

(11) commercially export clam (Tridacna gigas (Otkang)); T. squamosa (Ribkungel); T. derasa (Kism); T. maxima (Melibes); T. crocea (Oruer); and Hippopus hippopus (Duadeb) meat or part thereof except cultured species;

(12) fish with a gillnet or surround net having a mesh size of less than three (3) inches measured diagonally;

(13) fish after one year after the effective date of this Act with a kesokes net with no bag portion or with the bag portion having a mesh size of less than three (3) inches measured diagonally;

(14) retain possession of or abandon a kesokes net having a mesh size of less than three (3) inches measured diagonally or with a bag portion having a mesh size less than three (3) inches measured diagonally. This subsection will come into effect two years after the effective date of this Act;

(15) until such time as the regulations promulgated pursuant to Section 5 are in effect take aquarium fish.

Source: Marine Protection Act

In 2007 SPC prepared a public awareness brochure for BMR that explains the major provisions of the Marine Protection Act (available at www.spc.int/coastfish/Countries/palau/PalauDomestic2007.pdf).

In 2003 the Protected Areas Network Act (PAN Act) was signed into law. The act has several purposes: it allows creation of protected areas to enable resource management and to halt habitat degradation and overfishing; it allows states to exert authority over their respective areas; and it allows the national government through the Ministry of Natural Resources Environment and Tourism to assist the states by providing technical assistance acting as a conduit for funding and facilitating cooperation among the states in areas of biodiversity importance that cross state boundaries. In 2008 a new law was passed to clarify the intent of the PAN Act and to create the Green Fee (otherwise known as the Environmental Protection Fee) to provide financial resources for establishment and implementation of protected areas (CCIF 2013).

Another law that has a major impact on fisheries is the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act establishing a large MPA. It designates 80 percent of Palau’s territory as a fully protected marine reserve in which no extractive activities such as fishing or mining can take place.
Annexes
Map courtesy of SPC

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