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Survival

2014-04-17
Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. All islands are surrounded by crystal clear ocean, with a vast marine biodiversity of over 1500 species of fish and 700 species of coral. In recent years, Palau has attracted thousands of tourists to spend their vacation there. Fishery and tourism are the major economic activities in Palau, but at the same time, are also triggering a crisis for the marine life of the Island.

Yvonne Sadovy, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Hong Kong and Swire Institute of Marine Science, started to cooperate with a Palau environmental group in 2003. Their research focused on the Palau fishing industry, especially on spawning aggregations of groupers. Spawning aggregations, reproductive gatherings of males and females, are vital for groupers since it is the only way they can reproduce. Yet they are very easy to find and over fish (take too many fish) and so need to be managed. This year, Yvonne visited Palau once again to work with her Palauan colleagues. She wanted to follow up on earlier research on aggregating groupers and know whether the population of groupers increased after the fish moratorium, or protection.

While Palau’s fishing industry is struggling to survive from the pressure of demand from local communities and exports to relatives, tourism is showing a massive growth. Although attracting tourists to the country is good for income, it is also causing problems. With a local population of only 20,000 people in Palau, the number of tourists is relatively massive and increased 100,000 last year. These tourists have a very big appetite for seafood and so the marine resources of Palau are now faced with a new challenge.

Fishy Business

  • Video
  • English
  • On-going
Five-part commissioned documentary series features how marine species and ecology being affected by human activities.
Produced by Monster Productions Ltd.
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