Palau's Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary Sets Global Standard

Oct 22, 2010, 23:05 ET from Pew Environment Group

Pew Applauds Decision Announced at International Biodiversity Meeting in Japan

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement applauding Palau's new marine mammal sanctuary. The announcement, which covers all of the country's exclusive economic zone (more than 600,000 square kilometers/230,000 square miles), was made today at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan.

"Palau's support for the conservation of marine species underscores this small island nation's tremendous commitment to protecting life in the oceans that surround it. Other countries should join Palau in safeguarding species in their waters. Palau declared its waters a shark sanctuary in 2009, and today has announced that they will also be a whale and dolphin sanctuary.

"Palau, which once supported the Japanese position on commercial whaling, now supports conserving marine mammals, along with sharks and other species. By aiding economic development through ecotourism, Palau recognizes the importance of keeping these species alive and thriving.

"We call on other countries large and small to follow Palau's example. When whales, dolphins, sharks and other species are depleted, the entire ocean ecosystem suffers from the resulting gaps in the natural food chain. Sanctuaries such as this can play a significant role in stemming the drastic decline in ocean biodiversity."

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

SOURCE Pew Environment Group