The Northern Reef Project is home to some of Palau’s most productive fishing grounds and encompasses a total of 3,930 Km2 of territorial waters pertaining to the states of Kayangel and Ngarchelong. Its waters include important habitats of coral reef systems, barrier reef, patch reefs, sea grass, nesting beaches, unique atoll forests; and offer spawning and aggregation sites for nationally protected fish species and breeding areas for sea-birds among other species. Given the decline in fisheries, both states have recently established marine law enforcement programs to reverse trends and protect their near shore territorial waters (12NM).
In this report, we analyze the legal framework, competencies and jurisdictions of all marine enforcement agencies in order to design an enforcement system for the Northern Reef project that is practical, affordable and feasible to implement over a four-year timeframe. While it is the responsibility of each state to implement activities according to their respective timelines, it would behoove them to develop their programs in tandem given their similar stage in development and the synergies afforded through cooperation.