On Thursday, October 22, Palau's Congress passed the law that establishes 80% of it's territorial waters as a marine sanctuary. This reserve is about 193,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers) in size. This makes it one of the five largest marine sanctuaries in the world.
Palau's President, Tommy Remengesau Jr., has long been pushing this initiative, going so far as to make the commitment to making this happen in addresses to the United Nations. When the President signs-off on this law, as early as Monday, his long-held dream will finally become reality!
There will, however, be challenges as Palau has no military forces and only one law-enforcement ship. There are some interesting initiatives underway to help Palau protect this amazing natural resource.
The government has recently turned to crowdfunding and raised over US$53,000 in a IndieGogo campaign in late 2014.
Certainly, Palau has shown it's commitment to enforcing it's rights with the recent detention and eventual destruction of four Vietnam-flagged "Blue Boat" vessels that were caught fishing illegally of Kayangel Island in 2015.
Segue firmly stands behind Palau's government and will advocate for a coast-watch effort among all the dive and tour operators to report any suspicious vessels that we may observe while operating in Palau waters.
What is already the best diving in the world can only get better from this day forward.