This past autumn, the UN announcement of Palau as a National Shark Sanctuary was posted as "Historic Sea Change" in this forum.
Now more positive change has taken place in Palau since President Toribiong's UN proclamation:
On January 13th, Palau Senate Bill No. 8-50 - a destructive purse seining/tax exemption bill that was passed by Palau's National Congress - was vetoed by President Toribiong. The president said: "this bill does not promote the implementation of national objectives set forth in the Constitution with regards to conserving a resourceful natural environment or promoting the national economy." He added that "exempting certain companies from paying fish export tax contradicts the government's policy." He also proposed a fisheries summit to be held in late February in order to make sound fishing policy more beneficial for Palau and all of Micronesia, with the participation of neighboring Pacific countries.
A recap on the bill: Palau's Senate Bill No. 8-50 would have prevented Palauans from receiving tax export revenue for all catches along with assigning General Santos City in the Philippines as the new transshipment port (presently Malakal harbor in Palau). Without the tax collection incentive and with catches avoiding Palau's port, all Palauan regulatory oversight would have been removed...including preventing rampant shark fishing/finning, curtailing endangered species harvest, and control of overshooting quotas.
Palau's President Toribiong has now proved himself as having true leadership abilities, as well as a vision capable of seeing Palau's "sanctuary" as a promise he has vowed to fulfill -- beyond just a metaphor of stewardship with his announcement at the UN on September 25th.
Although vetoed, SB No. 8-50 can still become law by a 2/3rd overriding vote in Palau's National Congress (the OEK) within 30 days of its return to the Senate and the House of Delegates. With this possibility, I urge that people lend their support to the president's stance.
All congratulatory messages backing President Toribiong's veto can be sent to:
President Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau:
and Cc'd to:
The Senate of the Eigth Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK):
Speaker of the House of Delegates:
House Committee on Maritime and Fisheries:
Palau Chamber of Commerce:
Palau Conservation Society:
Belau Tourism Association:
Palau Visitors Authority:
Edited by ebonites, 29 January 2010 - 11:34 AM.