An amendment to an important fisheries law was made recently to ban all commercial shark fishing in the Bahamas. Sharks in 200,000 square miles of Bahamian waters will be protected from commercial fishing boats from now on. Sharks in the Bahamas are actually in fairly good health, relative to other areas where they are being depleted rapidly due to the huge demand for shark fin soup. Shark-related tourism has generated about $800 million for the Bahamian economy over the last twenty years, it was estimated by the Bahamas Diving Association. In 2010 about five million tourists visited the country. (The total population is just 350,000. ) Tourism generates nearly of the country’s entire yearly GDP. Additionally about half of the country’s workers directly or indirectly depend upon on tourism for their income.
“This is in keeping with the government’s commitment to pursue appropriate conservation measures and strategies in order to safeguard marine and terrestrial environment,” said a Bahamian official. (Source: Nassau Guardian) For the last seventeen years, a ban has been effect on longline fishing, which protected large fish including sharks but not sharks specifically.
A study of open ocean sharks found nearly a third of them face extinction due to overfishing. “Our report documents serious overfishing of these species, in national and international waters, and demonstrates a clear need for immediate action on a global scale, said a shark conservation researcher. (Source: IUCN)
Shark fin soup, just one Chinese dish, is killing an enormous number sharks. One estimate says Hong Kong imports 10 million kilos of shark fin each year from as many as 87 countries.
One of the justifications for killing many sharks is the false notion they are out-of-control human killers, but the truth is they are not at all. A different shark study in 2009 found only five humans were killed by sharks worldwide, and four of those were surfers in South Africa where there are great white sharks. When people choose to surf where it is known there are great white sharks they are knowingly risking their lives by being in the shark’s territory.
Image Credit: Bhanadi