Food Politics + Justice Palau

Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by Heather Carr


Poaching in Palau – Defending the Pacific Ocean’s Last Healthy Tuna Stocks


Around the world, fish populations are suffering from heavy overfishing. Tuna is just one of the overfished species, with 96.4% of Pacific bluefin stocks gone, and yellowfin, skipjack, and other varieties following soon if steps aren’t taken to ensure their survival.

Eight island nations in the western Pacific, including Palau, banded together to form the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) The PNA sets catch limits and enforces those limits – to the best of their abilities.

However, international law on the open seas is difficult to navigate. Often, Palau’s one patrol boat catches poachers in the act, but is unable to do anything because of complicated jurisdiction.

Because of careful planning of the fisheries around Palau, the sea is still plentiful. The healthiest tuna stocks swim in the seas belonging to PNA islands. 60% of the Pacific Ocean’s tuna swim in PNA waters. Nearly two-thirds of the tuna caught in the Pacific comes from PNA water. This attracts poachers from countries in southeast Asia, who use various tactics to obscure the origin of the fish they’ve poached.

The tuna is then relabeled and shipped to Japan, the United States, and other countries, where consumers have no idea they’re purchasing poached tuna.

Palau’s patrol photographs the trespassers and reports them to their home nations. Sometimes the home nation investigates the poachers. More often, it seems the poachers evade justice and simply move to other fishing grounds.

Beach on Palau photo via Shutterstock

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Popular Posts

    Over-the-counter drugs might alleviate your allergy symptoms, but the side effects can be the pits. Try these food-based natural remedies for seasonal allergies instead!

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Herbal homemade soda is quite simple actually. Almost any herb can be used, and this lavender and lemon combination is cooling and refreshing!

    Do You Think Cilantro Tastes Like Soap? Here’s why.

    Putting a healthy meal together can be difficult on a busy weeknight. These quick, easy, healthy meals make even weeknight cooking a breeze.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisements

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.