During the past two years, PICRC established new partnerships, both locally and internationally, that have allowed us to engage in pioneering conservation efforts. From identifying heat resistant corals to implementing a coral restoration project and employing satellite-tracking devices to understand the movement of pelagic fish, PICRC researchers are at the forefront of cutting-edge science.
These are all exciting new advances for PICRC; however, the past two years have taught us that there is enormous value in pairing modern science with traditional knowledge. Palauan tradition is an ancient paradigm of sustainability. Marine protection in Palau has existed for millennia, long before the modern day marine protected area. Conservation is at our core.
In 2017, a report released by PICRC and partners proved that the extensive network of MPAs in Palau provides important conservation benefits. In addition, knowledge from local fishermen has allowed PICRC and partners to report the largest Bumphead parrotfish aggregations ever documented, information that is crucial for the management of kemedukl throughout the Pacific. As we move forward, we must not forget to look back on where we came from. This rich source of traditional wisdom could play a large role in solving some of the most pressing environmental issues throughout Palau, Micronesia, and the world.
To ensure that our traditional values are not forgotten, we must invest in the next generation of leaders. PICRC strives to provide educational opportunities for our employees, the people of Palau, and especially Palau’s youth. One of our central values is “investing in people and learning.” As you will see in this report, the significance of this value has been proven time and time again between 2017 and 2018. During these two years, not only did seven PICRC staff pursue higher education degrees, but also one PICRC researcher taught a marine science course at Palau Community College. At the same time, the PICRC Outreach Team developed a Summer Internship Program that provides Palauan college students with hands-on research experience, paired with an intensive cultural immersion opportunity to learn about Palauan traditional conservation practices. By offering opportunities and extending our support, we can show Palau’s youth that there is a role for them in protecting our planet. And we can motivate them to seek concrete actions to help do so.
To accomplish this, we depend on steady finances. The completion of the Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. Building in 2017 represented a significant milestone for PICRC. The new building provides a steady source of income for the Center, as it offers an extra conference room, housing for visiting researchers and extra office space. The Tommy E. Remengesau building is now generating over $100,000 annually – a substantial contribution which supports our research and educational activities, and will help build a strong foundation to ensure long-term financial sustainability for the Center.
Of course, our successes would not have been possible without the tremendous support we receive from all of you — the community, traditional leaders, the state and national governments, local businesses, and regional and international supporters. All of us at PICRC have boundless gratitude towards the unwavering support you have shown.
In these two years, our team at PICRC has worked diligently to reach new heights. We have seized great opportunities, accomplished ambitious achievements, and set new and exciting goals for the Center and for Palau. I am proud to share all of these efforts with you.
Dr. Yimnang Golbuu
Chief Executive Officer