Fishery resources are vitally important for the food security, economy, and cultural heritage of Pacific island communities. In Palau, like many other Pacific islands, there is concern and consensus among local fishers and scientists that many fish stocks are declining, partly as a result of local overfishing and advances in fishing technology, which have not been met with the necessary increase in management capacity. The most immediate threat to Palau’s coral reef fish populations, however, is the rapidly increasing demand for fresh seafood from booming tourist numbers. Further out to sea, the oceanic waters of Palau’s EEZ support significant tuna stocks that are targeted by licensed commercial as well as illegal fishing operations. Illegal vessels often hail from neighboring nations whose overfished waters no longer provide sufficient fish protein for their rapidly growing human populations. At CRRF we study both near-shore reef fisheries that are a common sight around the Pacific, as well as the less visible illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fisheries targeting larger predatory fish in the open ocean.

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