By Mike Di Paola – Jul 30, 2012
I was sitting in a 16-foot skiff with Governor Thomas Patris of the state of Hatohobei, Palau, anchored over Helen Reef. While the governor talked about a new agreement his community has made with OneReef, a U.S. conservation group, Hatohobei Congressman Wayne Andrew was spear-fishing below us.
“We agree to protect the reef and maintain it,” said Patris, who represents about 200 people in this remote corner of the western Pacific, a little north of the equator and about 1,000 kilometers east of the Philippines. “So that when our children grow up, they will see the same thing that we saw: an abundance of coral, turtles and plants.”
Onereef, based in Santa Cruz, California, has brokered an agreement between North American benefactors and the Hatohobei community to help finance reef protection. The terms are modest: $35,000 a year for 20 years, with the potential to renew. In return, the Palauans agree to establish no-take or catch limits, monitor the reef and keep the community informed and engaged.
Read more at Bloomberg News…
Jim Caldwell, Redondo Beach