News & Events

Regional e-Notes: April Letter from the Director

Apr 28, 2017

Aloha & Happy Earth Month!

As we take time this month to celebrate our amazing planet and its natural resources, I find myself reflecting on CTSA’s recent trip to Palau. Our team traveled to Koror to participate in a workshop on the ongoing CTSA-supported projects at Palau Community College, and to meet with stakeholders to discuss opportunities for sustainable aquaculture development. While there, we also had the pleasure of taking a trip out to the famous Rock Island Sanctuary, where the environmental preservation efforts of this pristine island nation are on brilliant display.

Palau is unique among the Pacific Islands. Whereas most other islands in the CTSA region have some reliance on commercial fishing activities for economic security, Palau has recently banned commercial fishing in their EEZ due to environmental concerns related primarily to overharvesting and climate change. The country is now embracing aquaculture as a means to supplement subsistence fishing to help achieve its goals for national food security and a sustainable economy.

Everyone we spoke with during our trip had positive feedback on farming locally important species, such as mangrove crabs, rabbitfish and mullet, for both market consumption and wildlife restoration efforts. A new loan program from the National Development Bank of Palau is encouraging the establishment of small to large scale aquaculture farming efforts, and many local entrepreneurs including fishermen have been reaching out to PCC for technical assistance.

Though the industry is in its early stages, our team sees Palau as a model and champion for sustainable aquaculture development in our region. This is largely due to the support from the general public and the farming and fishing communities, who have a fundamental desire to preserve Palau’s natural environment and way of life. I encourage you to consider innovative ways to get your own communities more involved in sustainable aquaculture development in your area. As detailed in this month’s newsletter, CTSA will release the FY17 Request for Pre-Proposals next week through our website. We look forward to the fresh ideas that will come forward in this new development cycle.

Mahalo,

Cheng-Sheng Lee, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CTSA