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Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

19 November, 2014

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PICRC Releases 3 New Reports on Palau’s MPAs

On October 28th, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) completed three different reports on Baseline Assessments of the Ebiil, Ngeruangel and Ngerumekaol Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) located in the States of Ngarchelong, Kayangel and Koror. Lead Authors of the reports are: 1. Researcher Lincoln Rehm, Ebiil Conservation Area Baseline Assessment, 2. Researcher Shirley Koshiba, Baseline Assessment of Ngeruangel Marine Reserve and 3. Researcher Marine Gouezo, Baseline Assessment of Ngerumekaol Spawning Area.

Since the beginning of this year, PICRC research team conducted assessment at all MPAs around Palau to get baseline measurements on fish abundance and biomass, benthic cover, coral recruits and invertebrates’ density at sites included the fore reef, reef crest, back reef and channel areas. PICRC Research team along with state conservation officers surveyed randomly selected sites that included thirty-six sites in Ebiil, forty-two sites in Ngeruangel and twenty-ones sites in Ngerumekaol Spawning Areas.

Results from these three surveys are different but overall, they show that coral reef ecosystems are in relatively good state. Results at Ebiil MPA demonstrated a significantly higher commercial fish biomass in the channel habitat compared to all other major habitats. Ngeruangel MPA had a higher fish biomass in the back-reef and fore-reef compared to the lagoon. Coral cover and the abundance of targeted invertebrates in Ngeruangel were low which  is probably due to the occurrence of the recent typhoons. The fore reef had a significantly high density coral recruits compared to the other habitats, which is a good sign of reef recovery after large-scale disturbances. For Ngerumekaol Spawning Area, findings demonstrated a high abundance of parrotfish which is an important fish family for reef resilience. In addition the coral cover was high with reaching more than 55% coverage especially in the channel habitat.

These assessments are needed as they provide us with information on the effectiveness of Palau’s MPAs. The results from these assessments and the comparisons with future surveys at the same sites will help managers to make decisions to better protect the marine environment of Palau and reach the goal of 30% of efficient MPAs by 2020 set by the Micronesia Challenge. This comprehensive survey by PICRC supports its mission to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world.

Copies of the reports have been distributed to the state governors of Ngarchelong, Kayangel and Koror and they are also available at PICRC library. A full list of all PICRC publications is available at the PICRC research library and website (www.picrc.org).  For copies of the reports or any other PICRC publications, please call Ines Kintoki at 488-6950 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

29 October, 2014

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PICRC awarded $84,000 grant to support their long-term coral reef monitoring program

On Wednesday, October 17th, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) signed a contract for $84,000.00 with the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) to support Palau’s long-term coral reef monitoring program.  The funds for the contract came from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Agreement II for the project “Enhancing Sustainable Coral Reef Monitoring and Management Capacity for the Micronesia Challenge and beyond”.  The Center, in partnership with MCT and other partners in the region, submitted a grant proposal to NOAA to support monitoring work in the region.  The joint proposal was approved and the funds from NOAA were given to MCT to manage and to distribute to all the partners in the Cooperative Agreement.

The overall goal of Cooperative Agreement is to have good monitoring data from Palau and other MC jurisdictions to support coral reef conservation work in the region.  The objectives of the award to PICRC are 1) to produce quality reports of monitoring data from Palau and 2) collaborate with regional partners on data entry into the Micronesia Challenge (MC) database 3) collaborate with other jurisdictions to report on the current state of monitoring data for MC and 4) contribute towards building capacity of other jurisdictions to evaluate the current state of monitoring data for the MC.

The long-term monitoring program at PICRC was established in 2001 when the Center came into operation.  It has provided important information on the impact of warming of the oceans on coral reefs, recovery of reefs from bleaching events, and impact of typhoon and other disturbance on reefs.  The continuation of this monitoring program is crucial for PICRC to continue to assess the reefs of Palau and how they are responding to the different threats, including both local and global threats.

PICRC’s mission is to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. For more information about PICRC’s research programs, visit www.picrc.org or “Like” PICRC on Facebook.

 

 

22 October, 2014

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PICRC begins to conduct school outreach on fisheries at Palau Aquarium

Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) started hosting students from public schools in Palau for school awareness program on fisheries. This education and outreach program is funded by the Australian Government through the Small Grants Scheme (SGS) to promote sustainable fishing management in Palau for schools and the community. From September through October, PICRC hosted 5th and 6th grade students from Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngaraard, Aimeliik, Ibobang and Ngaremlengui and taught them some important lessons about sustainable fishing practices. Followed after the lessons was a free tour on the new display on the traditional fishing practices at the Palau Aquarium.

The goal of this education outreach program is to conduct an aggressive school and community outreach program to highlight the issue of overfishing and raise support for effective management. Palau is an international leader in conservation management. The local government has passed many landmark laws that have designated Palau’s waters as a shark sanctuary, established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and regulated commercial fishing. Management focusing on fisheries is needed to complement the existing initiatives and improve fish stocks in Palau.  There is also limited information available to the public about the evolution from traditional fishing methods to contemporary fishing practices or how the local community draws on past practices as they develop policies to conserve their traditional resources. This project aims to educate the schools, local community as well as tourists about these issues and serve as a location for discourse about contemporary fishing. PICRC will continue to host more students targeting the 5th and 6th from all schools in Palau until February of next year.

For more information about PICRC’s education and outreach programs, visit www.picrc.org or “Like” PICRC on Facebook. PICRC envisions people empowered with science and knowledge for effective marine conservation and management.

 

22 October, 2014

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PICRC awarded $50,000 to study Palau’s MPAs

On October 17, 2014 Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) signed an agreement with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) for a $50,000.00 grant to support a study on “Improving the livelihood of the local communities of Palau through an effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network”.

The primary objective of this project is to protect the marine biodiversity of Palau and to improve the livelihoods of the local communities through an effective marine protected areas (MPAs) network. This project will focus on (1) the ecological monitoring and evaluation of MPAs and (2) socioeconomic monitoring and evaluation of communities including the perspectives and attitudes of community members regarding their MPAs.

Conducting the socio-economic and ecological monitoring surveys is needed to measure the effectiveness of Protected Areas Network (PAN) MPA’s and the perception that local communities have towards them. By integrating socioeconomic and ecological monitoring at the community level this project will empower communities to engage with the management of their local MPAs, and in the PAN network. This information is highly needed for conservation managers and coordinators to make adjustments on protection legislations, and to ensure that MPAs are well enforced and respected by the local communities.