Leadership Roundtable on Small-Scale Fisheries and Resilience
President of Palau, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and Global Ocean Commissioner Jose Maria Figueres with partners Rare, FAO, WWF and GLISPA brought together leaders from all sectors committed to strengthening the capacity and role of small-scale fisheries in reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change. "It is the responsibility for those of us who represent and work with coastal communities that rely on small-scale fisheries to connect the dots between the importance of this resource to food security and livelihoods and adaptation." summarized the evening’s facilitator, Gerald Miles of Rare.
Empowering communities to manage their natural resources sustainably, will improve their social and ecological resilience to climate change and ocean acidification. In the context of COP21, the solutions agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals—the group assembled recognized that community-based solutions for small-scale fisheries must feed into the discussion and guidance for adaptation globally and nationally in both development and adaptation plans. Without this connection, the financing to rapidly scale these solutions is unlikely to materialize and coastal communities, largely in the developing tropics, will struggle and shoulder the costs of a problem they did not create.
President Remengesau stated in his welcoming remarks, “The Palau National Marine Sanctuary was created to ensure that our children and grandchildren can continue to harvest the resources of the ocean, not to simply lock the door and throw away the key. One of the most important components of the newly-passed Sanctuary is to transition to a small-scale domestic fishery by the year 2020 in order to meet the food security needs of our people and our visitors.”
President Remengesau and the Palau delegation are actively exploring possible partnerships with experts in the field of small-scale fishery development in order to create a model industry in Palau’s 20% Domestic Fishing Zone. “The goal of creating the 80% no-take zone in the Palau National Marine Sanctuary is to protect pelagic species and this will create a spill-over effect to the remaining 20% Domestic Fishing Zone where the fish can be caught by our future small-scale domestic fishery. This will also alleviate the fishing pressure on our near-shore reefs as well as ensure that there are fish for the domestic market here in Palau.” stated newly appointed Executive Director of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Keobel Sakuma.