Last month, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Outreach team joined a meeting of the Association of State PAN Coordinators (ASPC), held at Ngatpang dock. Outreach officers offered updates on ongoing collaborative projects between PICRC and the Protected Areas Network (PAN), in several of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around Palau. PICRC officers were also able to provide news on the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS), which PICRC assumed responsibility for this past year.
The ASPC is an organization formed by the PAN Coordinators who head each of the state’s Protected Areas program. They meet quarterly to provide each other with updates about work being done on the ground, organize trainings and events, and share information. During this latest meeting, PICRC provided information on ongoing research projects occurring in the coastal waters within the PAN Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and in the pelagic waters near the PNMS. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was also present to give updates on the work they are doing with fishermen, their communities, and how they are addressing fisheries management.
While the purpose of PICRC is to conduct research, the value of that research really relies on the information it provides to the communities, so that they are better able to manage their own natural resources. As the link between the PAN initiative and the people using these resources, the PAN Coordinators, officers, and rangers are a key part of that community-based management. PICRC is proud to partner with ASPC and the communities in these states, to continue to empower Palauans to sustain themselves and their environment.