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The Alliance of Palau Conservation Officers (APCO) along with officers from the Division of Fish and Wildlife were in Ngerchelong State this past Friday for a joint site visit/training session. The occasion was a follow-up to the training sessions held at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and in Ngiwal State.
The members of APCO were hosted by Ngerchelong’s four conservation officers and divided into two groups: one group taking a boat tour from Oketol throughout their managed sea area and docking at Ollei and another group watching the activity from Todai.
Following the tour, the groups came together for lunch and to discuss issues affecting the Ngerchelong conservation officers and appropriate corrective measures to be taken. Joining APCO and the Divison of Fish and Wildlife were Governor Browny Salvador and Delegate Marhence Madrangchar.
Among the issues brought up by APCO and the representatives from the Division of Fish and Wildlife were security and communication for the local conservation officers, resolving sea boundaries and utilizing interstate relationships in law enforcement.
Governor Salvador and Delegate Madrangchar both took a moment to express their appreciation for APCO and the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Governor Salvador enthusiastically announced that Ngerchelong state was prepared to take the necessary steps to help the conservation officers in doing their jobs. When mention was made of needing longer-range communication devices, Governor Salvador immediately stepped up to say that the state was ready to purchase the equipment, especially for the safety of their conservation officers.
During the post-lunch open session, certificates were handed out to several of the APCO members for completing recent computer training. It was determined after their previous site visit that computer courses would be especially beneficial to some of the newer conservation officers shortly thereafter.
APCO plans to continue with their monthly site visits to every represented state within their alliance, thus giving their officers an opportunity to learn about variations in state conservation laws and promoting stronger interstate relations to aid in enforcement.
The APCO’s next site visit is scheduled for June 29 and is slated to take place in Ngardmau State. This ongoing effort is supported and coordinated by the Palau Locally Managed Marine Area Network (Palau LMMA), Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC) and Micronesian Conservation Trust (MCT).