KOROR â€“ Palau has come out with a 52-page Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Plan, which will serve as a strategy to combat illegal fishing in Palau as part of the national marine sanctuary law.
The plan outlines â€œways to enhance monitoring, control and surveillance of the Palau’s EEZâ€ during the next five years â€“ the transition period before the sanctuary is implemented.
It also will help deter, detect, interdict and prosecute illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing violations and illegal drug and human trafficking in Palau’s exclusive economic zone.
It also will also improve search and rescue, oil spill and disaster response, pollution detection, weather forecasting, and resilience to a changing climate. The proposed actions will serve to enhance Palau’s national security as well as regional security.
The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act makes 500,000 square kilometers, or 80 percent of the country’s EEZ a no-take zone and reserves 20 percent for Palau’s domestic market and local fishermen. The law also calls for a transition period of five years until the marine sanctuary is put in place in 2021.
The plan also detailed technologies that could help Palau combat illegal activity in its waters and establish a Southwest Islands Support facility.
“This region of Palau’s EEZ/Marine Sanctuary is largely uncontrolled and represents a significant fraction of the total protected area,â€ the plan says.
Both reef fisheries of the Southwest Islands, and the high-seas pelagic (tuna) fisheries require protection from foreign vessels.