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6th July 2011
The Bahamas has banned commercial fishing of sharks, awarding protection to more than 40 species swimming near the islands
The new law will turn all 243,000 sq miles of the nation's territorial waters into a shark sanctuary. The government has also increased shark-fishing fines from $3,000 to $5,000.
Activists welcomed the new law when it was approved. They had demanded more protection for sharks, after a local seafood company announced last year that it planned to export shark meat and fins to Hong Kong.
The archipelago joins Honduras, the Maldives and Palau in outlawing shark-fishing.
President of the Bahamas National Trust Neil McKinney said, “They desperately need protection if we're not going to drive them to extinction.”
The Bahamas has previously been dubbed the 'shark-diving capital of the world' and relies heavily on tourism – shark-diving earns the Bahamian economy around $80m a year.
"The new regulations ensure that sharks can continue to thrive for generations in our waters." said Eric Carey, executive director of the BNT.
Sharks are often targeted to satisfy the demands of shark fin soup in Asia, where it is considered a delicacy. This trade has led to an estimated killing of 73 million sharks a year, worldwide.
Deputy prime minister Brent Symonette said, “There may be a market (for shark fin soup), but the overriding concern of the environment is far greater.”
"Suppose you have two choices for this year’s holiday. The first involves jumping off a cliff onto jagged, wave-splattered rocks 300m below, and the second requires you to jump off the back of a boat into a milling crowd of hungry sharks". Great white expectations | Destination... More
Palau's $1.9 million shark | News... More
Malaysian state announces plans to ban shark hunting | News... More
Shark nations are failing conservation targets, say wildlife experts | News... More
Check out our Bahamas travel guide for more news stories and related articles... More
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Wildlife and safaris travel guide, including wildlife and safaris travel advice, where to go on safari in the world
Diving and snorkelling travel guide, top diving and snorkelling experiences, tips for diving and snorkelling, where to go and diving and snorkelling tips
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