Students learn about Palau’s marine life and efforts to protect it | The scoop
Last Saturday, a group of students joined the Marine Safety and Fish and Wildlife Protection Division of Palau for an educational surveillance tour aboard the PSS Remeliik II.
Students in Palau schools got a glimpse of research efforts and protection of the marine environment surrounding the western Pacific island nation and the diversity of animals living in its waters.
The students spent a day aboard the PSS Remeliik II, a patroller designed and built in Australia and donated to Palau in 2020 to help the nation patrol its Exclusive Economic Zone. The tour, which took place on November 13, also included a trip to the northwest coast of Babeldaob.
The students won their places on the trip thanks to the recently held Palau National Marine Sanctuary Art Competition and Anniversary Celebration Raffle. Called to Palau Euotelel a Klingil a Debel Belau, the sanctuary is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. It has been the center of various scientific studies – some of them carried out with the assistance of the Marine Safety, Fish and Wildlife Protection Division, which gave tours of the award-winning students.
They were joined by special guests including Palau Vice President Uduch Sengebau Senior.
“From the fight against illegal fishing to the enforcement of the PNMS to search and rescue operations, the work of the Marine Safety and Protection of Fish and Wildlife Division is extremely important to Palau. Said the senior vice president. “I am very happy that our students have the opportunity to see their technology up close and learn directly from the officers.”
Australian Ambassador Richelle Turner also joined the students on the trip.
“It was a pleasure to join the winners of the PNMS anniversary event. The sense of excitement in learning more about maritime surveillance and research is tremendous given the safety, environmental and economic importance of protecting Palau waters, ”Turner said.
‘We had a lot of fun’
Dr Louw Claassens, Scientific Officer of Palau International Coral Reef Center, shared a lesson on the centre’s research projects in PNMS. The lesson highlighted new studies exploring the deep marine environments of the sanctuary and documenting the diversity of its species.
“I learned a lot of things in the PNMS that I didn’t know, like the Palau Trench, which is 8,000 meters deep,” said Auryn Benhart, winner of the PNMS art competition. “It was very interesting.”
PNMS Monitoring and Enforcement Officer Jeremiah Ngiratreged presented the division’s monitoring tools, including its vessel monitoring system and surveillance camera in Angaur.
The crew also demonstrated the vessel’s radar equipment, which can detect illegal fishing activity within a 96 nautical mile radius.
The students had the chance to board the search and rescue unit of PSS Remeliik II, a small, fast and maneuverable craft used to support the operations of the main ship.
” The trip went well ; we had a lot of fun exploring the Remeliik II and seeing its gear, ”said Micah Misech, one of the PNMS anniversary raffle prize winners.
Acting Commander Allison Baiei ended the day by discussing with the students the importance of protecting the oceans.
“We are doing this for your future; it is very important to protect our waters,” Baiei said. “I hope that when you are our age, you will do so for the younger generations as well.”