Looking out over the reefs in northern Palau. © Amy Schrei/The Nature Conservancy

Stories in the Pacific Islands

Community Co-op is Saving its Fish

Local fishers in Palau have formed a co-op to save their declining fish populations and prevent illegal fishing.

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By 2030, an estimated additional 10,000 metric tons of fish will be required just to meet Micronesia’s domestic needs for food. The only way to support this demand is to help communities, companies and countries work together to make the region’s fisheries more sustainable.

Over-fishing is critically degrading marine ecosystems and putting Palau’s traditional way of life at risk.

Fishermen in the northernmost waters of the Republic of Palau began noticing that fish were getting smaller and each trip was landing fewer fish. Starting in 2013, The Nature Conservancy began working with local fishermen to assess the condition of important food fish stocks.

Results were bleak. Two-thirds of the fish being caught are small juvenile fish who have not yet reproduced. This is no way to maintain the fish population.

The gravity of this problem is what brought the Northern Reef Fisheries Cooperative together. It will take joint efforts to bring about change in Palauan waters. The cooperative aims to recover fish stocks and sustainably manage fisheries to benefit local communities and protect marine resources and biodiversity.

If you want to be part of the solution, please support our work.