Shark-diving in the Bahamas (manoellemos)

Shark-fishing is officially banned in the Bahamas

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.”

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