Palau National Marine Sanctuary


On October 28, 2015 the President of Palau, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., signed into law one of the world’s most ambitious ocean conservation initiatives to date, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act. After a five year transition period, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary will encompass over 80 percent of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area of almost 500,000 square kilometers. The remaining 20 percent will be reserved for traditional fishing and highly regulated and reformed domestic fishing fleet to serve only Palau’s domestic and tourism needs.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary builds on Palau’s long history of effective fisheries management through the local practice of bul. Through this tradition, the Council of Chiefs has strategically placed restrictions on fishing in vulnerable reef areas to protect biodiversity and the food security of their people. The Palau National Marine Sanctuary extends the tradition of Bul to cover the entire Exclusive Economic Zone of Palau and protect their precious marine resources for all Palauans.

With a vision of establishing the Palau National Marine Sanctuary by December 2020, Palau is taking the lead in protecting fisheries and setting an example for the global commons to follow.  As such, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary aims to:

  1. Integrate with other Pacific Island Countries in furthering the Mixed Management Approach (‘Mixed Plate Approach’) envisioned by the Pacific Islands Forum in its Pacific Oceanscape Vision and incorporating appropriate management, transition and set-aside strategies appropriate to Palau’s National interests;

  2. Strengthen fish stocks for traditional fishing;

  3. Strengthen, reform and modernize Palau’s domestic fishing industry for the development of Palau’s Eco-tourism;

  4. Re-stock pelagic fish stocks within and beyond the Palau Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ);

  5. Re-stock and protect associated by-catch within and beyond the Palau EEZ;

  6. Continue to actively partner with our Pacific neighbors, through the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), the Forum Fisheries Association, and the Pacific Islands Forum, in building a sustainable regional fisheries in the Pacific.