PALAU - The government of Palau is planning to close its waters to commercial fishing in order to help the environment return to its natural state.
"Until the international community can agree on a holistic framework and implement programmes to reverse the devastation to our oceans and seas, I will work to close Palau’s waters to commercial fishing," said Palau's President Tommy Remengesau, in a keynote address to a UN meeting on "Healthy Oceans and Seas".
During his speech, Mr Remengesau noted how a ban would allow nature a chance to heal what intensive fishing has destroyed.
It will also release the vast potential of our waters to provide more food for our people, more fish for the region, and to grow Palau’s economy through eco-tourism, the President said.
"Palau’s homes and villages are beautiful places, but it is our pristine reefs, our sharks, our Rock Islands, and our beaches that more than 100,000 tourists a year come to experience. If we can grow that sector sustainably, we can replace lost income from fishing while preserving the marine environment, which is our heritage," he continued.
In order to implement a ban effectively, Mr Remengesau stated that the country will need access to technology to monitor illegal vessels in its waters.