Conservationists nix Palau legislators’ proposal to end the 26-year-old fishing ban on endangered sp


Palau legislators are seeking to end the more than two-decade-old ban on fishing Napoleon Wrass and Bumphead Parrotfish, two of the country’s endangered species, but the bill seeking to lift the ban is facing resistance from scientists and conservationists.

On Feb. 18, President Remengesau referred back to the Olbiil Era Kekulau (OEK) SB 10-78, SD1 with amendments that is in line with both the Palauan tradition and recommendations from scientific experts. Remengesau asked the OEK to maintain the fishing ban and allow fishing of Bumphead Parrot Fish only if it will not threaten the health and sustainability of the species, but no permits will be issued before Feb. 1, 2022 .

Dr. Yvonne Sadovy of the University of Hong Kong warns that opening up Palau's fishing grounds for Napoleon Wrass and Bumphead Parrotfish two months a year could spike demand and may result in illegal exports and potential abuse.

In an interview with ABC Radio Australia, Sadovy noted loopholes in the bill that she said could potentially be abused, such as the lack of a quota, which could allow massive export of the endangered species. She said a high demand could result in having the fish winding up in Asian markets illegally if controls are not in place.