Photo by Shane Gross
Great news coming on the tail end of Shark Week -- the world's largest shark sanctuary so far is in the works in Micronesia. It will cover over 2 million square miles in the western Pacific which is equal to about two-thirds the land area of the US! We've been joyful that many countries are stepping up and creating shark sanctuaries in their coastal waters. It seems like around the world, governments are taking the protection of these vital apex predators more seriously. Now, an agreement among the Federated States of Micronesia including The Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, will create a record-setting sanctuary.
The Micronesian resolution is the most recent and largest example to date of a growing realization that sharks -- of which a third of all species are headed towards extinction -- are in serious trouble. Last month, the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL), a body comprised of lawmakers from across the Western and Central Pacific, requested all member nations to "adopt legislation for a unified regional ban prohibiting the possession, selling, offering for sale, trading, or distribution of shark fins, rays, and ray parts."
It is a major boon for sharks, which as we know are overhunted for their fins and are caught as bycatch in other fisheries. Creating shark sanctuaries where the fishing of them is illegal, and the possession of their fins is illegal, is a big help in the survival of their species.
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