4 Oct 2011

Environmentalist group welcomes Marshalls shark sanctuary

6:46 pm on 4 October 2011

An organisation that's advocating the protection of shark species is saluting the Marshall Islands government for creating the world's largest shark sanctuary, covering nearly two million square kilometres.

The parliament unanimously passed legislation last week which bans the trade in shark products and commercial shark fishing throughout the Marshalls waters.

The legislation also includes for fines of up to 200,000 US dollars for anyone found to be fishing for sharks or in possession of shark fins.

The Pew Environmental Group's Matt Rand says there are significant values for the entire marine eco-system in protecting shark species.

"So sharks have been in the waters of the world's oceans for four hundred million years but because we are removing them at such a rapid rate we are disrupting the whole balance of the ocean eco-system. And that goes all the way from very important commercial fish down to coral reefs and we are seeing decline in coral reefs and commercial fisheries because of the loss of sharks."