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Palau Expedition November 2018
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Palau Expedition November 2018

It was an honor and pleasure to visit Palau last week to celebrate the country’s leadership in ocean stewardship and to focus attention on ocean plastic pollution.

by David E. Shaw

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, one of the world’s most ambitious ocean conservation initiatives, was signed into law in October 2015 by President Tommy E. Remengesau.  This landmark legislation establishes a “no take” and no extraction area, and covers 80% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  The Palau National Marine Sanctuary builds on Palau’s long history of effective fisheries management through the local practice.

Our visit to Palau in November began, as for all visitors, with signing the “Palau pledge” as our passports were stamped.

Palau was the first nation to only issue visas to tourists who sign this eco-pledge, promising to act in an environmentally responsible way.  A video about the pledge can be viewed HERE

I had the pleasure of scuba diving with President Tommy Remengesau in the pristine ocean ecosystems of Palau. The president serves on the Leadership Council of the Aspen High Seas Initiative that I co-chair with Dr. Sylvia Earle, and all three of us are members of Ocean Elders. Sylvia and I serve as Patrons of Nature at IUCN.  At a celebration dinner, we presented Tommy with the first ever Mission Blue leadership award.  A video of that presentation event can be viewed HERE

Congratulations to the Oceanic Society, Mission Blue and the Plastic Pollution Coalition for organizing this trip and for their important work in ocean stewardship.