Palau creates world’s sixth largest marine reserve in the Pacific

The Guardian reports, 2nd October 2015: The tiny western Pacific archipelago of Palau has approved the creation of a marine sanctuary twice the size of Mexico.

Conservationists said the 500,000 sq km (193,000 sq mile) sanctuary would be the world’s sixth-largest fully protected area — meaning no fishing, or other uses such as drilling for oil.

The national congress of the country of around 21,000 people has approved the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, which will see 80% of the nation’s maritime territory designated as a reserve. The bill to create it was passed unanimously, 16-0 in the house of delegates, and the senate voted to adopt it.

The move follows a string of announcements on new marine parks, by Chile, New Zealand and the UK, to protect vast swaths of oceans from over-fishing.

The US-based Pew Charitable Trusts said Palau’s new sanctuary brought the total area of the oceans fully protected up to 1.9%, though scientists say that figure should be more like 30% to protect fish stocks and the health of the ocean.

“Today is a historic day for Palau, proving that a small island nation can have a big impact on the ocean,” said the country’s president, Tommy E Remengesau Jr. Around 20% of the sanctuary will still be accessible to local fishermen.

Source: The Guardian, 22nd October 2015. For the full details see

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