I went to Palau in 2007 for the New York Times and Science magazine to write about the Micronesia Challenge, the first attempt at large-scale protection of tropical reefs. Now, Phttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/17/palau-protects-marine-wealth-to-pay-for-its-future?CMP=share_btn_linkalau has surpassed itself by passing a law that will over five years eliminate all fishing in 80 percent of its waters. While the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Chagos Islands and the Phoenix Islands have similarly-sized no-take areas, they are inaccessible to all but a handful of scientists. Palau, in contrast, is a major diving destination, so over the next decades, anyone can go monitor the expected increase in density of big ocean-going fish that will be the main beneficiaries of the closure.
President Tommy Remengesau leads his Pacific island nation to adopt far-sighted conservation policies.