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Honduras Creates national shark sanctuary

by Nicklas Karlsson | June 29, 2011
"We have seen that protecting sharks help our environment and our people. When tourists come to Roatan and other destinations, they spend money to see the sharks. But these animals don't just help the Honduran economy. Our coral reefs and marine environment thrive because these apex predators are safe in our waters. Today's declaration will help us all, underwater and on land, for generations to come."
- Honduran Vice President María Antonieta Guillén de Bogran

Honduras has announced that commercial shark fishing will be banned from its' 92,665 square miles of national waters. the ban follows a moratorium on shark fishing impose some time ago, and the hopes are that it will preserve the marine environment and biodiversity.

Worldwide, shark populations have been dwindling the last decades, some as much as 90%. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) monitors some 1045 different shark and ray species and according to the IUCN, 30% are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

The main culprit of shark population decimation is the rising popularity internationally as well as the increased global trade in shark-fin soup, an Asian delicacy. Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year to meet demands. Further hurting the reproduction of populations are the inherent biological characteristics of sharks as a species, who mature late in a long lifespan and produce few young.

The ban on shark fishing is also aimed at creating revenue. A dead shark is worth about $108, while a recent study conducted in the Pacific island nation of Palau found that one reef shark could generate as much as $1,9 million over it's lifetime in tourist revenues, making it some 17,000 times more profitable alive rather than dead.

Honduran Vice President María Antonieta Guillén de Bogran said that "We have seen that protecting sharks help our environment and our people. When tourists come to Roatan and other destinations, they spend money to see the sharks. But these animals don't just help the Honduran economy. Our coral reefs and marine environment thrive because these apex predators are safe in our waters. Today's declaration will help us all, underwater and on land, for generations to come."


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