24 Sep 2010

Palau calls for more shark sanctuaries

5:38 am on 24 September 2010

At the United Nations summit on poverty and biodiversity in New York, the leaders of Palau and Honduras have called on other coastal nations to support their push to create shark sanctuaries.

Palau's President, Johnson Toribiong, says they believe it's in the interest of countries to have healthy ocean ecosystems, which is not possible without healthy shark populations.

Last year, Palau created the world's first national shark sanctuary and Honduras followed this year.

Mr Toribiong says sharks need to be seen as a precious part of the ocean, not a source of mass food -- and certainly not a threat.

In a joint declaration, the two presidents say a live shark is worth far more than a dead shark because of its potential in attracting divers to coral reefs.

They cited a study that found a single reef shark had a renewable annual value of more than 33,000 US dollars, but is worth only 32 dollars to a fisherman if caught and killed.