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LARGEST SHARK SANCTUARY IN THE WORLD

Tuesday October 4th, 2011
LARGEST SHARK SANCTUARY IN THE WORLD

The Marshall Islands are the latest nation to create a shark sanctuary in there territorial waters and at 750,000 sq miles it will be the biggest in the world. The Pacific republic intends to ban all trade in shark products and commercial shark fishing.

Marshallese Senator, Tony deBrum said, 'In passing this bill, there is no greater statement we can make about the importance of sharks to our culture, environment and economy... Ours may be a small island nation, but our waters are now the biggest place sharks are protected.'

The bill will mean that not only will commercial shark fishing and any trade in shark products will be banned but any of the fish accidentally caught must be released alive. Certain designs of fishing tackle will also be banned from with fines of up to £200,000 for anyone violating the laws.

Matt Rand, Pew Environment Groupís director of global shark conservation said, 'We salute the Republic of the Marshall Islands for enacting the strongest legislation to protect sharks that we have seen... As leaders recognise the importance of healthy shark populations to our oceans, the momentum for protecting these animals continues to spread across the globe.'

Sharks and rays are seriously threatened by issues such as habitat loss and fishing with around a third of all ocean-going sharks now on the internationally-recognised Red List of Threatened Species. Recently, a group of eight countries including Mexico, Honduras, the Maldives and Northern Mariana Islands signed a declaration announcing they would push for more shark protection across the world.
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