Palau Burns Illegal Fishing Boats
Palau has burned four Vietnamese fishing vessels caught illegally fishing in its waters
Following Indonesia's example, the Pacific nation sent a clear message to fishermen on Friday when it set fire to four Vietnamese boats who were illegally fishing in Palau's protected waters.
The boats were discovered off Kayangel Island with more than 8 metric tons of sea cucumbers and reef fish on board.
The 77 crew members were given fuel and provisions and send back to Vietnam aboard two remaining fishing boats.
'This message goes to the captain and crews of these vessels. Palau guarantees you will return with nothing,' president Tommy Remengesau Jr said after the boats were burned on Friday.
'Captains will be prosecuted and jailed. Boats will be burned. Nothing will be gained from poaching in Palau. From one fisherman to another, respect Palau.'
Seizing boats and destroying fishing gear has proven unsuccesful in the past, Palau's president Tommy Remengesau Jr said.
'We wanted to send a very strong message. We will not tolerate any more these pirates who come and steal our resources.'
'Illegal fishing is a major threat to Palau, given its location as a critical gateway to the Pacific,' said Seth Horstmeyer of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy program. 'With a no-tolerance policy and growing enforcement capabilities, illegal fishing will be stopped in Palau.'
The tiny island-state created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 and last year declared all its waters a no-take fishing zone, again a world's first.