February 4, 2019

Story: Managing Ocean Change & Food Security in Palau


The azure waters off the island nation of Palau in the Western Pacific are considered one of the underwater wonders of the world. Palau's waters include remarkable biodiversity, with over 1,300 species of fish, 400 species of hard coral and 300 species of soft coral.

However, overfishing of select reefs, habitat degradation, limitations in fisheries governance, market pressures, the need to develop domestic fishing capacity, climate change and food insecurity are all challenges currently being faced by Palau's waters and people. 

Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions and the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) are partnering with the Palau National Government to facilitate the successful implementation of its Palau National Marine Sanctuary, one of the world's largest protected ocean areas – bigger than the state of California.

The sanctuary will fully protect about 80 percent of Palau's marine territory, meaning that no fishing, mining or other extractive activities can take place.

In February, a multi-disciplinary team is coming together to identify critical knowledge gaps in tackling the primary challenges Palau faces as it implements this Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

This work aims to equip Palau’s leaders and policymakers with a portfolio of coastal and deep-sea policy and management options that are designed for the ecological, social and economic wellbeing of Palauans in the near and long-term.   


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Image credit: Andrew Hume