Massive shark sanctuary for the Pacific

Marshall Islanders act to protect threat from shark fishermen

Author: Pat
2nd February 2012
 

A new shark sanctuary has been created in the Marshall Islands, encompassing two million square kilometres of ocean.

Trading in shark products or shark fishing for money will be banned with the zone, equivalent to 750,000 square miles.

Less than 70,000 people live in the Marshall Islands archipelago. But with huge reliance on tourism – in particular diving – for income, the government felt compelled to act.

In 2009 Palau declared what was then the world’s biggest shark conservation zone, swiftly followed by the Bahamas, Honduras and the Maldives.

However, the Marshall Islands’ new no-take zone is the largest in the world, covering an area roughly the size of Saudi Arabia.

Within Marshallese waters sharks trapped accidentally must be released, and certain designs of fishing equipment will be banned – with a 200 grand fine for violators.

Currently huge pressures are placed on ocean-going sharks, around a third of which are on the threatened species list.

 
 
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