6 Feb 2014

Palau to phase out commercial fishing

1:56 pm on 6 February 2014

The president of Palau has declared his country will ban commercial fishing and become a marine sanctuary.

Tommy Remengesau Jr made the announcement in an address to a UN meeting in New York.

He says once current fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan and some private companies expire only fishing by island residents and tourists will be allowed in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

Mr Remengesau says establishing a 100 per cent marine sanctuary will enable Palau to preserve a pristine environment and promote snorkeling, scuba diving and ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy.

In 2009, Palau announced it was creating the world's first shark sanctuary and it also adopted the most restrictive law against bottom trawling.

In 2012, its Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.