PICRC and Ministry of Education to Implement New School Programs

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is partnering with the Ministry of Education to launch a new series of educational school programs. The programs, which include laboratory experiments, researcher presentations and educational aquarium tours, leverage PICRC’s scientific resources to bring students’ science curriculum to life.

PICRC’s Outreach & Education staff devised the school programs, which range from individual hour-long lessons to whole-day experiences, to complement the Ministry of Education’s science curriculum and illustrate classroom topics through experiential activities. Programs can accommodate K-12 students of all ages. read more

PICRC Partners with BOFI to Study Tuna Spawning in the PNMS

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and Belau Offshore Fishers Incorporated (BOFI) have launched a new study of tuna spawning in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS). To understand tuna’s reproduction in Palau’s waters and the PNMS, PICRC researchers are collecting gonad samples from BOFI’s catch.

Although tuna spend most of their lives migrating through the open ocean, they periodically gather together for reproduction and spawning. These gatherings, which are critical to maintaining the tuna’s population, also leave them vulnerable to overfishing. read more

New PICRC Fisheries Report Finds Fish Stocks Slowly Rebounding

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) recently released a new technical report outlining the size and abundance of resource reef fish stocks across Palau. The report, based on PICRC’s 2019 nationwide fish surveys, finds evidence that populations are gradually beginning to recover from decades of overfishing.

While Palau’s fisheries are still widely depleted, as they have been since the 1970s, the new report highlights a number of signs that conditions are improving. The biomass of herbivorous fish was found to have increased significantly since PICRC’s previous 2017 survey, a good sign, as herbivores control algae on reefs and create space for young corals to grow. The report also identifies “hot spots” of high fish biomass in the northern reefs, and in the south near Peleliu and Angaur. read more

New PNMS Advisory Committee established to allow different stakeholders to provide input to the management of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary

PNMS Advisory Committee with Madam Vice President Uduch Sengebau Senior

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Advisory Committee met earlier this week to officially formalize and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a subcommittee for the National Environmental Protection Council (NEPC). Representatives from Government entities, Non-Government Organizations and private partners are voluntary members to the committee. “This committee will be a unique, inclusive space for people of many backgrounds to directly participate in our work with the PNMS,” said King Sam, PNMS Director. “Our members bring decades of experience in both government and private business, and will help to ensure different and diverse views are considered in the management of PNMS.” The advisory committee formalized their partnership with a memorandum of understanding, which provides a framework for collaboration between the Sanctuary’s public and private partners.
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PICRC Researchers Set Sail into the PNMS for a New eDNA Monitoring Project

Last month, PICRC researchers Dr. Louw Claassens, Ikelau Otto and McQuinnley Mesengei joined Captain Allison Baiei and the crew of PSS Remeliik, Palau’s offshore patrol vessel, on a five-day expedition to survey the diversity of fish species in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS). Using a relatively new technology called Environmental DNA (eDNA), researchers collected water samples which will be used to determine the biodiversity of fish living throughout the PNMS, as well as within Palau’s nearshore environments. read more