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Press Release

Palau Supreme Court
PRESS RELEASE #110
June 6, 2017

Re: Non-Resident Associate Justices of the Appellate Division, Palau Supreme Court

(It is our duty at the Judiciary to inform the people what we do.   This Press Release is one way to achieve that responsibility.)

Before the 14th Constitutional Amendment, the Supreme Court consisted of a Chief

Justice and at least three Associate Justices. The Chief Justice and the three Associate Justices served as Trial Justices. When an appeal is taken on a Justice’s judgment, the other three Justices form an appellate panel to review that judgment. All the Justices served both Trial and Appellate divisions.

There were three non-resident Justices who were available to serve either at Trial or Appellate division in case of conflicts of interest by resident Justices. The non-resident Justices were sitting Justices or Judges of judiciaries in the CNMI, Guam and FSM.

These non-resident Justices serve the Palau Supreme Court without compensation, except travel and lodging when they are needed to be in Palau for oral arguments. In case a non-resident Justice retires from his court, Palau Judiciary would compensate that Justice for work done for the Palau Supreme Court based on the same hourly rate of a resident Justice’s salary.

These three non-resident Justices were quite busy in the early days of this Judiciary. These were full time Judges of their court with a full docket and it was not always convenient for them to travel to Palau. But as judges of the statutory courts in Palau became law trained and became qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, they were appointed to serve on the Appellate Division of the Palau Supreme Court and give some relief to the only three non-resident Justices.

This was the Palau Supreme Court structure before the 14th Constitutional Amendment. The Amendment separates the Justices of the Appellate Division of the Palau Supreme Court. No longer would the same Justices be moving between the divisions of the Supreme Court.

The 14th Amendment also eliminated the limit on the number of non-resident Justices to three. This is important because of the inevitable number of conflict of interest of the resident Justices of the Appellate Division.

 

Since January 15, 2017 when the 14th Amendment took effect, Chief Justice Ngiraklsong, Justices Rechucher and Michelsen have declared a total of 24 conflicts of interest or disclosures of potential conflict of interest.

Fortunately, President Remengesau, Jr. has appointed three new non-resident Justices for the Appellate division. In addition to non-resident Justice Katharine Maraman, Chief Justice of Guam Supreme Court, retired Judge Daniel Foley, Intermediate Court of Appeals, Hawaii

Judiciary, the new Justices are Dennis Yamase, Chief Justice of FSM Supreme Court, Alexandro Castro, Chief Justice of CNMI Supreme Court and Kevin Bennardo, law professor at North Carolina School of Law.

Meet all of the non-resident Justices of the Appellate Division, Palau Supreme Court:

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Date: 06/07/2017

Six Palauan college students begin their Summer Internship Program at PICRC

June 5th marked the start of the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Summer Internship Program. This week, six interns joined PICRC for a month and a half long internship. The interns will be mentored by PICRC researchers at the Center. During the internship, they will gain hands on experience in the field and in the lab. This is the second summer PICRC has offered this program.  This summer internship program is being supported by Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated.

The students selected for this year’s internships include Maikani Osismereng Andres and Onglibl Diana-Rae Lakobong, Environmental and Marine Science majors from Palau Community College; Itu Bells and Kelutel Darrin Yoshiwo, Marine Biology majors from University of Guam; Kaylee Giramur, an Environmental Studies major from Chaminade University of Honolulu; and Yubee K. Isaac, an Environmental Studies major from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

This six-week immersion program gives PICRC interns the chance to gain field and lab work experience, practice report writing skills and develop lasting professional contacts. The program also allows students to broaden their knowledge of marine ecosystems and conservation efforts in Palau. Additionally, as part of the Summer Internship program, the students are required to participate in a Cultural Immersion Program to acquire local knowledge to understand how Palau’s history plays a role in today’s marine conservation efforts and for the future of Palau. This year the cultural immersion program is run in collaboration with Camp Ebiil where the interns will work as councilors for 10 days alongside Palau Cultural Instructors.

The purpose of these internships is to help students fulfill school requirements and give them a chance to explore potential career paths. Through this internship, students gain a deeper understanding of current conservation efforts in Palau. It is the hope of the Center that upon completing their degrees these students will return to work in Palau and contribute to conservation efforts here at home.

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Date: 06/05/2017

The Palau International Coral Reef Center would like to thank the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Rock Island Tour Company, Garden Palace and Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated. These generous supporters have contributed to the 2018 Arts and Tides Calendar and we are very grateful for their continued dedication to PICRC.

Palau International Coral Reef Center
Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Date: 05/25/2017

PICRC begins work on a new strategic plan for 2018-2022

Last week the Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) staff participated in a two and a half day strategic-planning meeting.  Every five years, PICRC develops a Five Year Strategic Plan to develop goals, objectives and milestones that the Center will focus on in order to achieve its mission. Through the development of a strategic plan, PICRC staff are able to bring ideas and thoughts forward to collaboratively devise a plan that will be instrumental in the growth of the Center over the following five years.

The development of the new strategic plan started with the Board of PICRC setting the direction for the next five years and raising critical questions and issues for PICRC to address in the next five year.  The staff then met last week to work out the detail of the strategic plan.

The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan consists of four goals. Collectively, these goals promote PICRC’s mission, “to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world”.

The goals for PICRC for the next five years are as followed: 1. PICRC’s Research Initiatives Have a Highly Positive Impact on Marine Conservation Policy and Management, Providing Stakeholders with the Scientific Findings Needed to Effectively Manage Marine Resources.  2. PICRC is Consistently Expanding the Understanding of Marine and Coastal Management Priorities in Palau and Micronesia to Support Conservation Action.  3. PICRC is Institutionally Effective and Efficient with Proactive Governance, Leadership, and Staff that are Skilled, Knowledgeable and Consistently Achieving Excellence in their Work.  4. PICRC is Financially Stable with Sufficient and Consistent Funding to Operate as a Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Research in Palau and Micronesia.

The plan still needs to be finalized and sent out for peer review. Once finalized, it will be presented to the Center’s Board of Directors for its final review and approval. It’s imperative that as the Center evolves, plans for the future evolve with it. The past five years have been marked by remarkable growth for PICRC.  Now as PICRC looks towards the future, it anticipates continued growth to provide the science to guide management, conservation and policy toward Palau’s marine resources.

 

Palau International Coral Reef Center
1 M-Dock Road
P.O. Box 7086
Koror, Palau 96940
picrc.org/picrcpage

Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Email: ikintoki@picrc.org
For Immediate Release
Date: 05/23/2017

The Palau International Coral Reef Center has been receiving donations for the 2018 Arts and Tides Calendar over the past few months. We want to thank some of the generous supporters who have been able to help us with the production of our calendar. Among some of our earlier donors are: Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated, NgaraMaiberel Women’s Group of Koror, The Republic of China (Taiwan) and Palau Pacific Resort. Thank you all, we look forward to sharing the finished calendar!

Contact Ines Kintoki @ikintoki@picrc.org to make a donation or call 488-6950.

Palau International Coral Reef Center
1 M-Dock Road
P.O. Box 7086
Koror, Palau 96940
picrc.org/picrcpage

Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Email: ikintoki@picrc.org
For Immediate Release
Date: 05/22/2017

PICRC partners with IAEA to assess Harmful Algal Blooms in Palau

Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABS, produce toxins that have a potentially devastating, wide range of effects that are a threat to marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Last month, Palau International Reef Center (PICRC) Research & Aquarium Director, Geraldine Rengiil attended a workshop with the International Atomic Energy Agency on approaches to reduce the adverse impacts of harmful algal toxins on seafood safety.  The HAB Programme of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission UNESCO has been developed to further management and research, better understand causes of HAB, predict occurrences, and diminish their effects.

Palau will be one of the study sites for HABs.  Palau’s coastal communities and economic interests depend on fishery and aquatic resources that can be adversely affected by HABs. It is beneficial to have management and mitigation strategies developed to reduce the severity of HAB impacts, with an emphasis on minimizing the risk of human exposure. Key among the management tools employed to protect public health are monitoring programs aimed at detecting HAB toxins as they occur in both the algae that produce them and the fishery resources contaminated by these toxins.   While HABs is not a current issue in Palau, it does pose a potential threat for the future.

HABs include an abundance of algal species that can cause harm to humans, wildlife, and ecosystems and have continued to increase in frequency, duration, and distribution over the past several decades. These microalgae are abundant in coastal marine ecosystems worldwide and although toxigenic species represent only a small percent of the total number, new toxin producing species continue to be discovered. A widely believed explanation for this trend is anthropogenic factors such as; nutrient enrichment, ballast water introductions, enhanced aquaculture activities, and, more recently, global climate change/variability.

In Palau, there have been suspected cases of ciguatera poisoning, an illness that arises from eating contaminated reef fish, as well as occurrences of fish kills.  PICRC will collaborate with agencies such as Division of Environmental Health and Environmental Quality Protection Board to conduct and establish baselines on existence of HAB toxins and monitor exposure to contaminated seafood in Palau. This information would benefit consumers of marine resources and enable them to make informed decision on where they fish within their marine environment. Additionally, this information would benefit food and water regulatory agencies, policy makers, and the food and tourism industry in Palau.

>>An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems, and is recognized by the discoloration in the water from their pigments.[2] Cyanobacteria were mistaken for algae in the past, so cyanobacterial blooms are sometimes also called algal blooms. Blooms which can injure animals or the ecology are called “harmful algal blooms” (HAB), and can lead to fish die-offs, cities cutting off water to residents, or states having to close fisheries.<<[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algal_bloom]

Palau International Coral Reef Center
1 M-Dock Road
P.O. Box 7086
Koror, Palau 96940
picrc.org/picrcpage

Press Release
Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Email: ikintoki@picrc.org
For Immediate Release
Date: 05/17/2017

Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated supports PICRCs Summer Internship Program

 Last year, as a result of Palau’s 2016 Year of the Youth Small Grant Scheme, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) received a grant from the Government of India to support PICRCs Summer Internship Program. The program, focusing on building science and environmental capacity in Palau’s youth, was incredibly successful among the eight Palauan interns who joined PICRC. Now, to continue this program, PICRC has received a donation of $5,000 from Blue Bay Petroleum Incorporated.

Blue Bay has been a supporter of many programs relating to the environment, sports, culture and the arts, and have continued to be a supporter for PICRC. Year after year , they have donated to our Arts and Tides Calendar, and fundraising events. “Blue Bay is excited to be part of this year’s PICRC Summer Internship Program and to be able to support participating students’ learning experience”, stated the Sales Station Manager for Blue Bay, Ralph Moses, “We wish them all the best and we hope to see them soon here in Palau in the future”.

The Summer Internship Program allows high school and college students the chance to gain research experience and build employable skills relating to marine research and resource management. Additionally, the program provides students the opportunity to work closely with a mentor on a variety of topics relating to conservation. Through this internship, students develop a network of long-lasting professional contacts for their future careers.

These internships are as valuable to PICRC as they are to the students. New interns bring new energy and fresh ideas to the Center and in return, we provide them with a chance to work towards a career in the field of conservation. PICRC researcher, Victor Nestor, started as an intern back in 2007 and returned as a researcher after completing his Bachelor’s degree in 2012. Now, Mr. Nestor has a Masters in Marine Science from the University of the Ryukyus (UoR) in Okinawa, Japan. “My internship at PICRC helped me narrow down my educational interests,” Mr. Nestor commented on his internship with PICRC. “I’m very grateful for this program that has lead me to two degrees and a career in marine biology”.

The Summer Internship Program would not be possible without Blue Bay’s  generous contribution and we are incredibly grateful for their continued support.

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