The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Palau Creates One of the World's Largest Marine Sanctuaries
“This bold action to protect the full sweep of the country’s valuable ocean resources affirms that Palau is a world leader in marine conservation,” said Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice president of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife and Oceans. “No other country has done more.”
The law designates 80 percent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone—an area bigger than the state of California—as a no-take marine reserve, and the remaining 20 percent as a managed domestic fishing zone for local fishers to supply the national market and ensure food security for Palau now and into the future.
Palau’s marine ecosystems are some of the most diverse on Earth, home to more than 700 species of coral and 1,300 species of fish. Globally, oceans are threatened by over-fishing, pollution, warming and acidification. Large, no-take marine reserves are crucial to efforts to build marine resilience to climate change by allowing fish stocks to rebound and reducing by-catch of species that are critical to ocean health.
Earthjustice was privileged to provide legal support to the government of Palau, advising on the legal requirements under ocean treaties and fisheries access agreements to which Palau is a party, and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act.
“The sanctuary is a major contribution to healthy oceans and reef systems that are more resilient to climate change, both for the people of Palau and for the world,” said Earthjustice international program attorney, Erika Rosenthal. “Ocean biomass conservation—through fisheries conservation and management and marine protected areas—is critical to maintaining the ocean’s function as an effective carbon sink.”
The precedent-setting Palau marine protected area shows that small island states, often called large ocean nations, can be global conservation leaders, and make major contribution to the international targets for marine protected areas established under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Support for the sanctuary was strong across the island from governors to traditional leaders to thousands of Palauans who demonstrated and signed petitions. Palau has long been a leader in ocean conservation. The nation established the first shark sanctuary in the region in 2001 and was a leader in the Micronesia Challenge, designating a near-shore network of protected areas starting in 2003.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Gift-giving is filled with minefields, but the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) got your back, so you don't need to worry about inadvertently giving family members presents laden with toxic chemicals. With that in mind, here are our suggestions for gifts to give your family this season.
By Claire O'Connor
Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.
In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.
When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.