Sustainable Ocean Economies: Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary

Fiorenza Micheli1, Yimnang Golbuu2, James Leape3, Eric Henry Hartge3, Lucie Hazen4, Alfredo Giron-Nava5, Emily Kelly3, Staci Lewis4 and Kirsten Oleson6, (1)Hopkins Marine Station/ Stanford University and Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, Pacific Grove, CA, United States, (2)Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Palau, (3)Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, CA, United States, (4)Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford, CA, United States, (5)National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, (6)University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, United States
One of the most acute challenges for ocean nations and coastal communities around the world is food and nutritional security, including sustaining wild capture fisheries in a time of rapid and profound change in the oceans and in the global food sector. The Republic of Palau has committed to protecting ocean ecosystems and resources for its people by closing 80% of its EEZ to fishing in 2020, and leaving 20% as a Domestic Fishing Zone. This bold policy provides an unprecedented opportunity to take a systems approach to tackling the complex and urgent challenges that are facing ocean nations. The Government of Palau has asked an international, multidisciplinary working group to synthesize existing research and create a portfolio of policy and management options supporting food security and marine resource sustainability in the context of the new closure. Data analyses, syntheses and models are addressing the questions: What processes and systems will be important to successful implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS)?What are the likely social, ecological, and economic effects of protecting 80% of the EEZ? What are the prospects and barriers to the development of a domestic pelagic fishery and what options should the government consider? Given Palau’s regional leadership and influence, insights from Palau can scale across the western Pacific region.