But that all could potentially be undone with recent legislation that was introduced to both allow for commercial shark fishing and allow for the use of purse seining - a method that brings in a large amount of by-catch. Palau commercial fishing interests have been working with Philippine fishing groups and the combined influence on Palau legislators has produced SB8-44 (which drops the ban on shark fishing) and SB8-50 (which drops an export tax on fish caught by purse seining).
According to FinsMagazine, the collective result of the laws would be:
- To permit and encourage the killing of sharks in Palau’s waters
- To promote shark finning
- To promote fishing methods that according to Monterey Bay Aquarium “result in large amounts of unintended catch” including sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays and juveniles:
- To exempt fishing companies from any export taxes on fish taken from Palau’s waters
- To make it practically impossible for Palau’s law enforcement personnel to successfully prosecute alleged violators in the courts
- To risk destroying Palau’s sustainable tourism industry
- To risk destroying Palau’s marine resources through unsustainable practices
- To gamble on all of the above for no apparent gain to Palau or Palauans.
Email the Palau Chamber of Commerce (email@example.com) and Belau Tourism Association (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the government tourism office Palau Visitors Authority (email@example.com) .