Palau President Visits Maui
On June 2nd, the President of Palau, Thomas “Tommy” Remengesau addressed an overflowing audience at UH Maui College regarding his nation’s work to balance its natural resources with the demands of economic growth. The Republic of Palau is the leading nation in the Micronesia Challenge, a commitment by 5 Micronesian governments to conserve at least 30% of their near-shore marine resources and 20% of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
The government has instituted several groundbreaking actions including:
- Mandatory Green Fee of $50US for all tourists arriving in the nation that to date has raised over $2M for conservation efforts
- Ban on commercial fishing (including tuna), shark finning and long-line fishing- a decision made after weighing the benefits of commercial fishing versus eco- tourism
- Conservation of 65% of its marine and 35% of its terrestrial resources – far exceeding the goals of the Micronesian Challenge
After the president’s address, he and his cabinet where welcomed at the Wailuku CMMA for dinner and talk story session with other members of the Maui Nui conservation community.
In response to a question about balancing conservation and the tourism industry, President Remengesau replies: “We don’t want more scuba divers in the water than fish”.