NO to illegal fishery!
The authorities burnt and sank several Vietnamese fishing boats which were used in illegal fishing activities in Palau's protected marine areas. When they were caught, more than eight tons of reef fish and sea cucumber had been found on board.
While the boats' captains remain incarcerated in Palau, their crew of 77 men were sent off on two remaining boats with enough food and fuel to last them on their journey back to Vietnam.
Such drastic measures were taken after military and diplomatic means to cut down on illegal fishing had little effect.
"This message goes to captains and crews of these illegal boats: Palau will ensure that they will return with nothing," said Tommy Remengesau Jr, President of Palau.
Since last year, a total of 15 Vietnamese boats had been caught fishing illegally, carrying more than 25 tonnes of marine life destined for the Asian black market.
For years, Palau has been strong in marine protection, creating the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009. The then president Johnson Toribiong had even called for a global ban on shark finning. Five years later, in February 2014, President Remengesau declared the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Palau (comprising 620,000 square kilometres) a marine reserve.
Although Palau's economy is largely based on fishing, President Remengesau pointed out that the economic potential of Palau was not in tuna fishing, but (scuba diving)tourism. Currently, tourism comprises more than half of the nation's gross domestic product. Hence, it is in the country's best interests to safeguard the natural environment and marine life.
Information about Scuba Diving on Palau.
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