Palau Considers Drones For Illegal Fishing Prevention


An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstration was conducted in Palau on October 4th. Andrew Forrest, one of Australia's wealthiest men and chairman of the Minderoo Foundation financed the presentation. The drones were courtesy of Aerosonde, an Australian company.

After prohibiting commercial fishing within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Palau's president, Tommy Remengesau, is testing different ways to police their waters.

With a population of around 21,000, occupying 300 islands, Palau faces a huge problem of securing an area of about 604,000 square kilometers; nearly the size of the country of France. However, with the use of drones, president Remengesau hopes they can better secure their waters without exhausting their limited resources.

Palau is already facing economic pressures since commercial fishing netted the country US$5 million. The ban on commercial fishing is in response to concerns of overfishing or resource depletion. Although a large sum of Palau's economy, $5 million is a "drop in the bucket" in contrast to what large fishing companies make. President Remengesau believes that investments in adventure, sport and ecological tourism will adequately make up for the $5 million deficit.

The president is currently exploring options to fund a, "fully operational drone surveillance system" that could help in spotting, identifying, and reporting illegal fishing in Palau's waters.

1. Australia Network News. "Palau ends drone patrol tests to deter illegal fishing".
2. Islands Business. "Banning fishing in Palau's EEZ".