Monday, 28 Sep, 2009 Environment

Palau to Create World's First Shark Sanctuary


The president of the small island country of Palau, Johnson Toriboing, recently announced that his country will open the first shark sanctuary in the world. The sanctuary will be built with the goal of protecting the endangered fish. In his address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City the president of Palau said that the sanctuary will not allow commercial fishing and will impose heavy fines on those who will be caught fishing for sharks.

It is worth mentioning that the number of sharks is dramatically declining due to the fact that the shark soup is considered to be a delicacy in a lot of Asian countries. "The need to save the ocean and save sharks far outweighs the need to enjoy bowls of soup," said Toriboing. About 130 extremely rare shark and stingray species can be found in or pass the waters of the island country. Some of the endangered shark species include great hammerheads, oceanic whitetips, and leopard sharks.

Palau is a country composed of about 200 islands and is considered to be one of the youngest nations in the world. The territorial waters of the country extend over a territory of 230,000 square miles (600,000 sq km), which is about the size of France, reports National Geographic News. This territory will serve as shelter for declining fish. "Palau has taken the ultimate step toward shark protection. There's no clearer way of protecting sharks," outlined Matt Rand, director of the global shark conservation campaign at Pew Environment Group, located in Washington D.C. The group helped Palau officials in creating the first sanctuary for sharks.

Although Palau officials will take serious actions against those who fish for sharks, the country currently has just one patrol boat, which is not enough for its large territorial waters. Still, the move from the Palau officials had a strong effect on other nations that began thinking about preserving their own endangered animal species.

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