4 Mar 2014

Palau president says grassroots are behind no fishing zone

7:26 am on 4 March 2014

The president of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, says people in the country are all behind a proposal to ban overseas commercial operators from fishing in Palau waters.

Palau is finalising plans to turn its 600 thousand square kilometres exclusive economic zone into a protected area.

Mr Remengesau says Palau is not going into it blindly but instead doing the analysis to ensure it can make up for the 5 million US dollars in lost funds from fishing licenses and fees.

"While it may be a billion dollar industry we are really getting peanuts and breadcrumbs. Maybe if we concentrated our efforts on ecotourism, sports fishing, catch and release, international sports tournaments, this could also be a sustainable flow of revenues for our people as well as to our government."

Mr Remengesau says the ban is part of regional efforts at conservation and also in line with Palau's traditional practices of sustaining food stocks, known as "bul".