Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Palau to Create First Shark Sanctuary

And what a beautiful island nation in which to do so.

The Republic of Palau is an Island nation in the Pacific some 500 miles east of the Philippines , with a rich and diverse marine ecosystem surrounding it. The economy of Palau subsists primarily on tourism, agriculture and fisheries, and it came as a great surprise to all when they announced in the recent UN Assembly the brave step to create the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters.

The move announced by the Island nation’s President Johnson Toribiong, stated that Palau will protect about 600,000 sq km (230,000 sq miles) of ocean, roughly the area of France, and aim to curb the cruel practice if shark fining, which is the process of catching sharks, cutting off their fins and throwing the rest of the fish, still alive, back into the ocean to die.

The fins are prized throughout Asia for use in sharks fin soup and local medicines. As many as 100 million sharks are killed each year around the world and the once prolific shark, is now slated to be placed on the endangered list in the next few years.

“Palau will declare its territorial waters and extended economic zone to be the first officially recognized sanctuary for sharks,” Palauan President Johnson Toribiong told the Associated Press in an interview Thursday.

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