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Palau to target illegal fishers with new Japan patrol boat
The tiny Pacific nation of Palau has boosted its efforts to stamp out illegal fishing with a new patrol boat donated by Japanese charity the Nippon Foundation.
Previously Palau had just one long-range boat to enforce a vast 500,000 square kilometre (193,000 square mile) no-fishing zone roughly the size of Spain.
President Tommy Remengesau said preserving ocean resources was vital to the nation of 22,000 and the new vessel "Kedam" would give it enhanced surveillance capabilities.
"We are one percent land and 99 percent ocean," he said at the vessel's handover ceremony Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, we are visited by problems not of our own making, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
"This will go a long way to assist Palau in tackling this important challenge."
The Tokyo-based Nippon Foundation donated the 41-metre vessel and will pay for fuel and maintenance until 2027.
Its sister organisation, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, will cover the training and salary costs of the crew over the same period.
The total value of the donation is around $30 million.
In recent years, Palau has caught illegal fishing vessels from the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan in its waters.