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Welcome To The World’s Largest Shark Sanctuary!

Welcome To The World’s Largest Shark Sanctuary!

 

The Marshall Islands are now home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary, an area of the central Pacific Ocean four times the size of California, The Pew Environment Group confirmed in a news announcement today.

The Washington-based conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect the oceans, said the Nitijela, the Parliament of the Marshalls, passed legislation unanimously last week that ends commercial fishing of sharks in all 1,990,530 square kilometers (768,547 square miles) of the central Pacific country’s waters, an ocean area four times the landmass of California.

Need To Protect Sharks From Habitat Loss And Fishing

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is about midway between Hawaii and Australia, so it’s not that easy to get to for most of us! The islands were under U.S. administration for almost 40 years, but in 1986 they gained independence.

The Pacific Ocean republic said it would ban trade in shark products and commercial shark fishing throughout its waters in an effort to protect sharks under threat from habitat loss and fishing, the BBC reported Sunday.

From UPI:

“In passing this [shark protection] bill, there is no greater statement we can make about the importance of sharks to our culture, environment and economy,” said Sen. Tony deBrum, who co-sponsored the bill in the archipelago’s Parliament.

Tourism, including diving, is a large contributor to the economy of the Marshall Islands, home to just 68,000 people.

“Ours may be a small island nation but our waters are now the biggest place sharks are protected,” deBrum said.

Currently About A Third Of Ocean-Going Sharks Listed As Threatened

About a third of ocean-going sharks are on an international list of threatened species.

According to The Pew Environment’s statement, the key provisions of the Marshall Islands’ new law include:

•    A complete prohibition on the commercial fishing of sharks as well as the sale of any sharks or shark products. Its zero retention stipulation requires that any shark caught accidentally by fishing vessels must be set free.

•    Large monetary fines, anywhere between U.S.$25,000 to U.S.$200,000, for anyone who is found to be fishing sharks or in possession of shark fins. In addition, violators would be fined the market value of the product in their possession.

•    A ban on the use of wire leaders, a longline fishing gear which is among the most lethal to sharks.

•    A monitoring and enforcement provision which requires all fishing vessels to land their catch at one of the country’s ports and bans at sea transfers.

Palau, Maldives, Honduras, Bahamas, Tokelau Offer Shark Protection

The Marshall Islands have joined Palau, the Maldives, Honduras, the Bahamas and Tokelau as locations that offer total protection for sharks. It would be great if other countries joined in too!

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Sharks And Other Predators Are Essential For Ocean Health

 

Photo Credit: bee happy123

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70 comments

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11:11PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

We must think positively that the message about saving and protecting the sharks IS getting through. It often takes a long time and a lot of work to make people realise that they must override their fear of sharks and realise how important their existance is to our oceans. Mind you personally I will not be swimming in the ocean around the Marshall Island anywhere in the near future!

11:31AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

hope it works - who knows really - ty

7:55PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

great news

7:54PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

wow

12:38PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

Humans ruin everything. It is good to know that there are some who are taking charge of trying to slow the damage.

10:24AM PST on Jan 11, 2012

Thanks.

12:13PM PST on Nov 16, 2011

Great news, I love sharks

5:50AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Great!

8:44AM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

bravo!

5:36AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

all of our oceans should be shark sanctuaries

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