Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

18 December 2015


Government of Italy first to support the Palau National Marine Sanctuary with 300K grant

Since President Tommy E. Remengesau signed into law the Palau National Marine Sanctuary on October 28, 2015, Italy becomes the first nation to support it with a $300,000.00 grant to fund the project, "Establishment of the First Nationwide Sanctuary in Palau: A long-term adaptation response to the impacts of Climate Change on Marine Ecosystems".  The award was presented to Ambassador Caleb Otto, Palau’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Italy’s Permanent Representative to the UN, during a short ceremony in the Italian Mission in New York.  The three main components of the project include:  1) Development of a conservation and management strategy based on identified conservation benefits accrued from the Sanctuary and tracking them overtime; 2) Development and finalization of a surveillance and enforcement strategy; and 3) Assessment of the current and projected market needs to plan for the transition towards a domestic fishery as well as explore new potential ecotourism opportunities.

This funding comes at an opportune time with the recent establishment of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) Office, appointment of Mr. Keobel Sakuma as its Executive Director and the establishment of an 11-member Executive Committee, whose task, among others, involve providing oversight and assistance to the Office regarding general operations and fund-raising efforts. As such, this grant will provide a springboard for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Office to launch the implementation activities and work to ensure the government of Palau and its people will fully benefit from the establishment of Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

In response to the awarding of this grant, Minister of State, the Honorable Billy Kuartei states, “The government of Palau is extremely grateful to receive this grant as it will support such an important initiative for Palau. The awarding of this grant demonstrates our good relationship and partnership with the Government of Italy to address climate change issues, in particular, mitigating climate change impacts with the establishment of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. We thank the Government of Italy for their support. As always, my Ministry will continue to work actively with Palau’s partners and friends from around the world to support Palau’s important conservation initiatives”.


12 December 2015



Palau's conservation efforts convinced visitor to donate to PICRC


A tourist visiting Palau made a $100 donation to the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) that all started with a conversation with a local taxi driver as he was driven from the airport. After being encouraged by his taxi driver, Mr. William S. Lovejoy visited the Palau Aquarium. He was so moved by Palau's proactive efforts in protecting its marine resources that he decided to make a contribution to the Center.

Mr. William S. Lovejoy is a professor from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Upon his arrival, Mr. Lovejoy's taxi driver from the airport had spoken proudly about the Palau Marine Sanctuary and other conservation efforts and told him not to miss out on the opportunity to visit the Palau Aquarium. Mr. Lovejoy's observation of the Center's research programs, outreach programs to the community, especially to Palau's students, and long term coral reef monitoring efforts to help in conservation management was particularly significant to him.

When asked to share his reason for his donation to the Center, Mr. Lovejoy responds, "as an avid snorkeler and a lover of coral reef ecosystems, I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Palau and I am also very impressed with the steps Palau had taken to preserve its natural beauty for future generations. I heard about your efforts educating the public and helping to conserve and protect Palau's wonderful marine resources from Mr. Tutii Chilton, and I would like to make a $100 contribution to the Palau International Coral Reef Center".

Development Director, Ilebrang Olkeriil expresses, "PICRC is touched by the donation made by Lovejoy. All donations to the Center will go a long way in supporting the Center's programs. With the Center's 15th Anniversary around the corner, PICRC would like to encourage all locals and those visiting Palau to support the Center by visiting the Palau Aquarium, and making donations such as cash or bi-weekly allotments. A recommendation made by a taxi driver to visit the aquarium combined with local educator's inspirational work led to a donation from a visitor to Palau".


7 December 2015


TNC donates 10K toward PICRC's 15th Anniversary Fundraising Gala

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has generously donated $10,000 to the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) that will go towards the 15th Anniversary Fundraising Gala. The gala will be held at the Palau Royal Resort on January 21, 2016 under the theme,Transforming Conservation Together. The event will be a joint celebration honoring the collaborative approach in advancing conservation in Palau and the region through partnerships.  The keynote speaker for the event will be Judge Kate Salii.

TNC has been a close partner with PICRC since its inception and this donation demonstrates TNC's full support of the Center. This donation, as well as past and future donations, is an investment for PICRC's future as it continues to strive towards financial stability. PICRC's 15th Anniversary fundraising (and all future fundraising) will help the Center become less dependent on the grants and allow the Center to focus on priority issues for Palau and the region.

According to Ms. Ilebrang Olkeriil, PICRC's Development Director, "PICRC is extremely grateful for this generous donation by TNC. We hope that others would be inspired by this donation and contribute towards the 15th Anniversary Fundraising Gala".  If you are interested in donating to PICRC or want more information about the 15th Anniversary Fundraising Gala, please contact Ms. Ilebrang Olkeriil at 488-6950.


4 December 2015


PICRC researcher gets specialized training on water quality at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan

Ms. Evelyn Otto, a researcher at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) recently returned on a trip from Okinawa, Japan for a special training on water quality measurement. Ms. Otto spent two weeks in Okinawa at a laboratory at the University of Ryukyus (UoR), where she underwent an intensive training on how to conduct water quality analyses. She was supervised by Dr. Haruko Kurihara, a professor at UoR. The trip was made possible with the collaboration of UoR, Palau Community College and PICRC under the Palau Coral Reef Island Ecosystems (P-CoRIE) project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Science and Technology (JST) Agency.

At the UoR lab, Ms. Otto learned how to measure dissolved organic and inorganic carbons, nutrients, and chlorophyll among other things. Some of the samples she tested were collected in Nikko bay, Palau. According to Ms. Otto, "the training was very good and informational. Frequent use and practice is recommended to maintain the skills". This is an important skill to know because it helps the Center and Palau assess the overall health of its waters.

Sending a PICRC researcher on this training programs is important for the Center because it allows PICRC to increase its staff capacity to deal with the most pressing research needs facing Palau and the region. Sending Ms. Otto to Okinawa highlights the Center's efforts to continually invest in staff capacity building and using that capacity to increase and improve coral reef research, monitoring, and data collection. Increasing capacity of the staff only puts the Center further along on achieving its mission "to guide coral reef stewardship through research and its application for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world".