Sharks swim in safety, in The Bahamas at least

By Colin Ricketts - 06 Jul 2011 20:9:1 GMT
Sharks swim in safety, in The Bahamas at least

It is now illegal to fish for sharks in the waters around The Bahamas.

The islands' government announced yesterday that the 630,000 square kilometers (or 243,244 square miles) of the country's waters are now off limits to commercial shark fishing.

"2011 is fast becoming the year of the shark," said Jill Hepp, manager of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group.

"The announcement permanently protects more than 40 shark species in Bahamian waters. We applaud the people and government of The Bahamas for being bold leaders in marine conservation."

Palau, the Maldives and Honduras have also banned commercial shark fisheries, giving the ancient sea creatures almost 2.4 million square kilometres (926,645 square miles) of ocean that they can call their own.

"The Bahamas' prohibition on longline fishing gear 20 years ago protected the marine resources of The Bahamas and ensured that our shark populations would remain healthy," said Eric Carey, executive director of The Bahamas National Trust (BNT).

"But there were no specific laws in The Bahamas for sharks, the crown jewels of ocean health. The new regulations signed this morning by Minister Cartwright, ensure that that sharks can continue to thrive for generations in our waters, one of the world's best places to see sharks."

Each year 73 million sharks are killed, many just for their fins.

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