The Republic of Palau consists of several hundreds of islands with a total EEZ of about 630,000 km2. The population of Palau is about 21,000 people concentrated mainly on the islands of Angaur, Babeldaob, Peleliu and Koror.

In 2015 Palau adopted a law designating the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, a complete no-take zone protected from all exploitation and covering 80% of Palau’s EEZ. The Sanctuary should be fully functional by 2020.

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism is responsible for the management of all living resources in the Sanctuary. The 2015 Act specifies three types of zones: 1) submerged reefs reserved for domestic fishing and traditionally-recognized fishing rights; 2) Palau National Marine Sanctuary, covering all of Palau’s EEZ except the Domestic Fishing Zone and territorial sea; and 3) Domestic Fishing Zone accessible only to traditional and domestic fisheries.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act refers to the traditional bul system, a local practice in which the Council of Chiefs placed restrictions on fishing in vulnerable reef areas.

A detailed zoning plan and management plan is available for the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012. The six zoning areas include General Use Zones, Subsistence/Recreational Fishery Zones, Tourism Zones, Conservation Zones, Preservation Zones and Special Management Areas (covering, e.g., sand mining and aquaculture). The World Heritage site covers 10,200 km2 and is under the authority of the state of Koror (Palau has 17 states). The Management Plan is reviewed and updated yearly by a steering committee appointed by the Governor of Koror State.

Updates will be posted on this website as MSP activities in Palau develop.

Last updated: August 2018