24 Jun 2016

Palau joins regional initiative to protect sharks

11:31 am on 24 June 2016

Palau has become the latest Pacific country to join a regional conservation initiative to protect shark and ray species in its waters.

Other countries in the region who have backed the Pacific Shark Heritage Programme by the World Wildlife Fund included Fiji, Samoa and French Polynesia.

Palau became the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 banning all shark fishing in its territorial waters, and is looking at banning all commercial fishing by 2018


Photo: 123RF

WWF's Global Shark and Ray initiative manager Ian Campbell said a quarter of the sharks and ray species in the region were predicted to become extinct in this generation.

Mr Campbell said sharks and rays are an important part of Pacific culture and heritage and he hoped more Pacific governments would jump onboard.

"The barrier at the moment is getting to each country to inform them of what we're doing," he said.

"We're currently based in Fiji and it's just getting out to the countries to inform them. Once we speak to governments, they're very, very receptive of what we're doing."