In order to ensure sustainable fisheries, and healthy coral reefs for future generations, sustainable management practices based on accurate assessments of fish stocks are required. In 2017, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) launched the first nation-wide study to investigate the status of commercially important reef fish stocks across Palau. PICRC researchers Christina Muller-Karanassos, Marine Gouezo, Victor Nestor, Lincy Lee Marino, Dawnette Olsudong, and Geory Mereb recently published a report detailing the results of their studies that was conducted at six different reef habitats in 94 sites around Palau.
On March 26, 2020 the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) announced the closure of its facilities, including the Palau Aquarium, as a preventive measure taken against COVID-19. Originally stipulated to close for two weeks, until April 12th, the Center has made a new decision to remain closed until April 30th.
Even though there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Palau, the country is taking steps to mitigate its possible spreading. PICRC’s decision to extend the closure of its facilities to the general public until the end of the month follows a sense of responsibility to protect and limit risk to all partners, collaborators, guests and public at large. “At PICRC we are committed to the safety and security of our visitors and staff,” stated PICRC CEO, Yimnang Golbuu, “Even though our doors are closed to the general public, the Center continues internal operations, such as research and outreach activities, but with limited physical community involvement. At the same time, our aquarists and maintenance staff are working on much needed repairs to the Aquarium and overall facilities,” he added.
The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) has taken proactive steps to ensure the safety of staff, visitors, students and community members during the current COVID-19 pandemic. All the Center’s activities that do not involve direct public contact will continue without any changes. As preventive measures, other aspects of the Center’s work that involve gatherings of people have been postponed, including the closing of the Palau Aquarium, Gift Shop, and facilities to the general public. The center has also cancelled all community outreach, school programs, and internships until the end of the summer. Research, aquarium and outreach work continues, but with limited community involvement.
At Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), we are committed to the safety and security of our visitors and staff. As we face many uncertainties with the COVID-19 pandemic, we will take a precautionary approach and implement measures to limit exposure and risk to our partners, collaborators, guest and the public at large. The Center will continue to conduct research but will limit outreach activities to internet and e-mails. Since most flights will be discontinued and schools are closed, we will also close the aquarium to the public. We will continue to work on much needed maintenance and improvement of displays during this time. If you need to contact us please do so by e-mail or phone, as we try to minimize in person contact as much as possible.