Shark sanctuary

The first shark sanctuary in the world will be installed in the Pacific Ocean. Commercial fishing for sharks will be forbidden in the waters around Palau. The president of Palau also pleads for a world-wide ban on cutting shark fins.
Palau is an island republic in the Pacific Ocean, some 800 kilometres east of the Philippines. It is made up of approximately 200 small islands. The territorial waters of Palau, on the other hand, are quite sizable. They constitute an area about the size of France.

This whole area will become a shark sanctuary. Conservationists are enthusiastic about Palau’s announcement because many shark species are seriously threatened. It is estimated that there are about 130 rare shark and stingray species living in or passing through Palau’s waters.

One of the largest threats for sharks is the increasing consumption of shark-fin soup. This dish is particularly popular in Asian countries. According to the president of Palau the pleasure of a bowl of shark-fin soup does not outweigh the need to save this animal species from extinction.

It remains to be seen, by the way, whether Palau is capable of monitoring shark fishing in the reserve: If fishers are caught, a heavy fine awaits them, but Palau only has one patrol boat to monitor the entire area.