12 May 2008

Palau ban on live fish export becomes law

7:26 pm on 12 May 2008

Palau's President Tommy Remengesau has signed a bill in the senate to ban the export of live reef fish.

The bill, which prohibits and provides penalties for the export of live reef fish from Palau, was attached as a rider to another bill to increase the maximum loan amounts extendable by Palau's National Development Bank.

The Marianas Variety reports that a rider is an additional provision which usually has little or no connection to the subject matter of the bill being considered.

Legislators use riders to pass controversial provisions, which would not pass if introduced as stand-alone bills.

President Remengesau saw the rider attached as a way to address controversial fishery and environmental issues affecting the country's reefs.

He says while riders are usually not good as they don't allow ample time to review their essence, the importance of preserving fish stocks and the environment justifies the move.

President Remengesau says that the insatiable live fish export market could eventually lead to the destruction of reef habitats.