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4th October 2011
The Marshall Islands has created a super shark sanctuary covering almost two million sq km of ocean
The Pacific republic is also set to ban commercial shark fishing and trading in shark products in an attempt to ease the effects of habitat loss and over fishing.
Senator Tony deBrum, who co-sponsored the move through the Marshallese parliament said, “Ours may be a small island nation, but our waters are now the biggest place sharks are protected.”
The Marshall Islands rely on tourism, and specifically diving, for income and the move has been welcomed by conservationists and divers alike.
“With shark populations plummeting this new sanctuary is good news for the ocean’s beleaguered apex predators,” says Wanderlust contributing editor and author of Wildlife Travel Will Gray.
“I just hope other nations follow suit. There’s still around 97% of the Pacific in which sharks are unprotected. Unregulated, non-sustainable fishing outside shark sanctuaries will continue to reap its toll on these ocean wanderers.”
To put it into context, the protected area is about eight times bigger than the UK.
Under the new bill, commercial shark fishing and any trade in shark products will be banned. Also, any fish caught accidentally must be released back into the sea alive.
The Marshall Islands follow the lead taken by Palau and the Bahamas to ban shark fishing and create sanctuaries.
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That is very good news indeed. These magnificent creatures are hated because we fear them. It's about time we learnt to love them. They have an important role to play in the ocean and have just as much a right to live as other species.Having said that, I have to admit to catching a common black tip reef shark when we sailed down the Red Sea. But we did eat it, along with tuna, barracuda and Spanish mackerel, so I don't feel so bad. Looks like I won't be trolling any lines when we eventually reach the Marshall islands.
Great news, might be a bit hard to removed the hooks from their mouth in order to release them alive!
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