Target: Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau
Goal: Applaud new marine sanctuary spanning 80 percent of island country’s waters.
A marine sanctuary the size of California has just been created by the Pacific island country of Palau. The country, which is well-known for its scuba diving and snorkeling spots, has turned 80 percent of its total national waters into protected space where oil drilling and fishing will be prohibited. This new sanctuary will become the sixth-largest fully protected ocean space in the entire world.
The small island country has already built an outstanding reputation for marine conservation, and much of it remains free from environmental degradation. In 2005, Palau emerged as a leader in the Micronesia Challenge, which aimed to conserve 30 percent of coastal waters and 20 percent of forested land. In 2009, it created the world’s first shark sanctuary for the 135 species of endangered or vulnerable sharks and rays that inhabit its waters, and proposed a worldwide ban on shark fishing.
Palau’s waters support over 400 species of coral, 1,300 varieties of reef fish, as well as several endangered species of sea turtle, dugong, giant clams, and saltwater crocodiles. Not only will the sanctuary act as a safe spot where these populations can recover, but it will also prevent fishing vessels from crossing its waters in pursuit of migratory tuna, which are dwindling throughout the entire Pacific Ocean.
This sanctuary will not only benefit wildlife populations around Palau, but will provide a safe space for Pacific marine life from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea. Sign the petition below to applaud the creation of this new sanctuary, and ask Palau to continue with its worldwide leadership in marine conservation efforts.
Dear President Tommy Remengesau,
Palau has recently announced the creation of a new marine sanctuary approximately the size of California. The sanctuary will protect 80 percent of the country’s waters from oil drilling and fishing operations, and will become the sixth-largest marine sanctuary of its kind. It will protect countless endangered species, such as sharks, rays, sea turtles, dugongs, giant clams, and saltwater crocodiles.
Palau has already proven itself to be a leader in marine conservation on the national stage. This new sanctuary will not only help several species of endangered and vulnerable species, but will serve as an example for other countries to follow. We, the undersigned, praise your efforts to save the ocean surrounding Palau and ask that you continue with your leadership role in the fight for marine conservation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peter R. Binter