(Jeff Barabe/The Pew Charitable Trusts via AP) 

June 11, 2015

TOKYO (AP) — The tiny Pacific nation of Palau, fighting a rising tide of illegal fishing in its waters, has set fire to four boats of Vietnamese caught poaching sea cucumbers and other marine life in its waters.

Palau's president, Tommy Remengesau Jr., said the boats were burned Friday morning. He hopes to turn most of the island nation's territorial waters into a national marine sanctuary, banning commercial fishing and exports apart from limited areas to be used by domestic fishermen and tourists.

"We wanted to send a very strong message. We will not tolerate any more these pirates who come and steal our resources," Remengesau said in a phone interview with The Associated Press from Washington, D.C., where he was visiting.

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