The Bahamas is the latest in a train of countries that are giving top priority to shark conservation. They have converted 243,244 square miles of the country’s waters into a shark sanctuary, prohibiting any commercial fishing of the animals.
A Treehugger report quoting Jill Hepp, manager of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, said, “2011 is fast becoming the year of the shark.” He certainly feels that way after all the news lately of more countries recognizing the importance of sharks — just last week Honduras announced its new shark sanctuary, and before that the Maldives in 2010 and Palau in 2009.
Studies have shown how much more valuable to an economy sharks are when they’re alive than when they’re fished.
It is being pointed out that the Bahamian sanctuary was created by adding an amendment to the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Chapter 244) to prohibit commercial shark fishing along with the sale, importation and export of shark products.
“The announcement permanently protects more than 40 shark species in Bahamian waters,” states Hepp.
With the Bahamas declaring nearly a quarter million square miles sanctuary for shark, the total is up to 926, 645 square miles of ocean where commercial shark fishing is prohibited. It’s wonderful news — but only if the bans are enforced.