Pacific Ocean, Palau: Island Nation bans Fishing and Sun Creams

From January 2020, the tiny Pacific nation of Palau is not only banning fishing from 80 percent of its ocean waters but has also become the first nation to ban sun creams that are harmful to fish and coral life.

Published 4 years ago

Palau’s fishing zones (c) Palau International Coral Reef Centre

Situated east of the Philippines and north of the Indonesia province of West Papua, Palau markets itself as a pristine paradise with some of the best diving in the world.

The waters surrounding Palau are home to more than 1,300 species of fish and 700 species of coral, including critically endangered hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles, manta rays, seabirds, whales, sharks and tunas.

Palau’s famous Rock Islands contain a lagoon that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Fishing prohibitions

Fishing is now prohibited anywhere within the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. Anyone visiting Palau on a yacht who wants go fishing will only be able to do so within Palau’s territorial sea (which extends approximately 12 miles from shore) in accordance with state/national law or within Palau’s Domestic Fishing Zone (DFZ) in accordance with the Republic’s national laws and regulations.

Palau officials told Noonsite that Palau’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism (MNRET) had the discretion to provide permits for research, recreational, or other noncommercial fishing within the Sanctuary or DFZ.

Sun cream ban

Sun cream ban aims to protect Palau’s pristine coral reefs (c) Palau Visitors Authority

Palau is also banning the use of sun screen products in efforts to protect the nation’s coral reefs and biodiversity.

The ban, which was first announced in 2018 by President Tommy Remengesau,  prohibits sun cream containing any of 10 ingredients from being sold or used in Palau.

The legislation to ban certain sunscreens and skin-care products came into effect on January 1, 2020 and is part of the Palau Responsible Tourism Policy Framework which requires that all visitors to Palau “become part of the solution to the environmental challenges in our pristine paradise,” according to President Remengesau.

Other places to announce bans on sun creams include the US Virgin Islands (March 2020) – the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire and Hawaii (2021).

Related links:

Palau:  Reimagining ocean conservation

Palau to ban sun cream products to protect coral

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Noonsite has not independently verified this information.

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