Signing the resolution for the shark sanctuary in Micronesia. (Photo: pewenvironment.org/YouTube,007bmac/FIS )
New shark sanctuary could scathe long-line fishing: WCPFC
Thursday, August 04, 2011, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
A proposal to fashion the world’s vastest shark sanctuary could powerfully affect long-line fishing in the region, according to the executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
The 15th Micronesian Chief Executive Summit held in Pohnpei last month disclosed plans to create a regional sanctuary spanning more than 3 million sqkm or over 2 million sqmi and in which shark fishing would be banned. The area is equivalent to two-thirds of the land area of the US and would be the world’s largest shark sanctuary and the first one ever created through an intergovernmental regional agreement.
Even though Palau has already instituted such a shark sanctuary, WCPFC’s Professor Glen Hurry believes the proposal for the much larger protected area will pose obstacles for long-line fishing.
“It’s probably difficult to fish away from sharks when you are fishing for long line catch of big eye and yellowfin tuna,” he explained, reports Radio New Zealand International. “And the second part of it is probably profitability because there is a market for sharks.”
“And I suspect that the long line companies will look at their economics of fishing,” he pointed out.
The summit’s resolution included the development of a regional prohibition on the possession, sale and trade of shark fins. It
spans the waters of the Federated States of Micronesia and its four member States, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.
It has been stated that Environmental groups have responded with praise. “We applaud and support the chief executives for protecting the sharks of Micronesia,” said Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, who recently worked with Micronesian leaders to develop the resolution and presented it at the summit to push for its passage.
“Their leadership should serve as a model for other coastal nations to safeguard these important keystone species which are rapidly disappearing from the world’s oceans, primarily as a result of the escalating demand for shark fins in China and other Asian countries.”
A third of all species are headed towards extinction, according to Pew.
In June and July, Honduras and the Bahamas followed Palau and the Maldives in delineating shark sanctuaries.
- Ban on shark commercial fishing
- Shark sanctuary created
By Natalia Real