Palau creates shark sanctuary to protect tourism and prevent overfishing

Palau's President says his decision to declare his country's exclusive economic zone a shark sanctuary will help both humanity and Palau's tourism industry.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Johnson Toribiong declared his country's entire Exclusive Economic Zone, an area of 629 thousand square kilometers, or roughly the size of France as a "shark sanctuary," which will ban all commercial shark fishing.

President Toribiong says he hopes other nations will follow Palau's lead to end overfishing, shark-finning and destructive fishing.

"I have received so many letters [from] all over the world, including the son of Jacques Cousteau asking me to protect sharks. Because one senator introduced a bill to legalise the shark fishing in Palau and that bill was killed after much lobbying. And because of that, the importance of sharks to the ecosystem and to our tourism industry, scuba diving, was threatened by boycotts. So I believe what I did was not only to help humanity but to help our tourism industry."

President Johnson Toribiong says reckless overfishing is depriving the people of the Pacific of their livelihoods, food and will be the ruin of the region's economic well-being.

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