Palau's War on Poachers

Photographs by Benjamin Lowy

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The isolated nation of Palau, in the South Pacific, comprises 250 small islands that take up only 177 square miles combined. But international law extends its authority to 200 miles from its coast, giving it control over 230,000 square miles of ocean. For a relatively poor country with no military and a tiny marine police division, and waters teeming with poachers, it’s a tall order. But, as The New York Times reporter Ian Urbina writes, Palau has mounted an aggressive response: it has banned bottom trawling and shark fishing, employed the latest in surveillance technology, and provided a model for collaboration among countries, companies and NGOs.

Reportage photographer Benjamin Lowy visited Palau to show the marine police’s efforts and the natural resources they are trying to protect. A wider edit of images is available by contacting your Getty Images representative.