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Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with a total of 500,238 km2 (over 300,000 mi2 ), became a multi-zoned national MPA in 2015, through the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act. The larger zone, taking up 80% of the EEZ, is called the Sanctuary and is one of only 25 Large Scale Marine Protected Areas in the world. The Sanctuary is a strict marine reserve which prohibits disturbance, alteration, destruction, or extraction of any resource. The sheer extent of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (> 150 000 km2 ) presents several conservation benefits, which include the conservation of entire ecosystems, the enhancement of food security, the protection of entire cultural landscapes/seascapes, the support of international cooperation and the enhancement of protected area networks. The remaining 20% of the PNMS is called the Domestic Fishing Zone (DFZ), which, as its name suggests, will support the development of a domestic pelagic fishing zone. Most of the research done in the past has been focused on the shallow near-shore coastal areas of Palau, including our seagrass, mangrove, and coral reef habitats. The development of the PNMS opens an entire new field for pelagic and deep ocean research in Palau.

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