For their marine conservation efforts, the South Pacific nation of Palau recently received the Future Policy Award for 2012.
The award, administered by the World Future Council, was given at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyerabad, India to the country with the best ocean policies. It was given in recognition of the 2003 Protected Areas Network Act and the 2009 Shark Haven Act.
“The aim of the World Future Council is to raise awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action towards just, sustainable and peaceful societies,” explained Alexandra Wandel, director of the World Future Council.
Under Palau’s 2003 Protected Areas Network Act, residents are responsible for managing the protected areas. The Act also involves protecting 30 percent of the near-shore marine environment by 2020. While management has remained local, some financial and technical support is provided by the government.
“Palau is a global leader in protecting marine ecosystems,” said Wandel.
Palau’s exclusive economic zone (600,000 sq km) is home to about 130 rare shark and stingray species. A recent study determined that Palau’s economy is benefiting from protecting these rare species.
A team of Australian researchers calculated the value of reef sharks in the water (in the form of tourism) and out of the water (in the form of a fishery). Catching and selling 100 reef sharks would result in a one-time payment of $10,800. Leaving those same 100 sharks in the water attracts more tourists and results in about $18 million per year–and these sharks live 10-25 years.
To learn more:
- Read the full press release from the World Future Council: Best Oceans Policies Awarded at UN Biodiversity Summit
- Read the full report on the value of sharks in Palau: Wanted Dead or Alive? The relative value of reef sharks as a fishery and an ecotourism asset in Palau
- Check out this article from IPS: Palau Proves Sharks Worth More Alive Than Dead
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.