Koror (Island Times) --- The governor of Okinawa Prefecture has asked the Palau Congress Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) to consider opening new fishing areas in the marine sanctuary for the Okinawan fishermen.
In a letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules, Gov. Denny Tamaki at the same time welcomed the proposed measure that will temporarily open the marine sanctuary to foreign fishing fleet.
Tamaki said Okinawan fishermen suffered operational constraints after Palau reduced fishing areas in the nation’s EEZ as a result of the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS).
“I would like to seek your kind understanding and support when deliberating the bill in OEK, so that our fishermen can resume operations … in addition to the 20 percent commercial fishing zone,” the governor added.
The letter included a chart showing where the longliners from Okinawa used to fish before the full implementation of the PNMS.
The governor said the fishermen would like to access anew those areas.
Tamaki also said the Okinawa Prefecture Government is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Palau government for “enhanced friendship and partnership.”
Meanwhile, opposition to the proposed amendments from several sectors is pouring in.
The Palau Conservation Society (PCS) urged the Senate not to entertain the proposed measure.
“PCS strongly recommends that this bill will not be entertained or vetoed in its entirety and that the PNMS is allowed every support and opportunity to fulfill its promise to our people and our nation, “the letter stated.
PCS added that the amendment will “diminish:’ the value of PNMS and tarnish Palau “Pristine Paradise Tourism brand.”
The NGO also said that opening the marine sanctuary to fishing would only lead to food insecurity especially felt by the vulnerable groups who do not have access to far-off fishing grounds.
It also added that people will not benefit from suspending the PNMS.