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Preserving Palau's Ocean Treasures

Palau National Marine Sanctuary continues conservation tradition of 'Bul'

Palau, part of the Micronesian island group in the western Pacific Ocean, is world reknown for its healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems. When Palau became an independent nation in 1994, its founders wrote in the new constitution about the need for “conservation of a beautiful, healthful and resourceful natural environment.” For centuries, traditional leaders used the custom of “bul”—a temporary halt to catching key species or fishing on certain reefs—to protect Palau’s thriving waters. Establishment of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary creates a modern-day bul to safeguard this ocean life for future generations. Encompassing some 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), the sanctuary constitutes one of the largest fully protected areas of ocean in the world.

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Laura Margison

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