The South Pacific is one of the most diverse oceans in the world and if protected, marine animals are able to thrive in the warm tropical waters.
Nearly 30 species of sharks and rays live in the waters surrounding the South Pacific Island of nation of Samoa and thanks to a recent announcement, these sharks and rays will be fully protected moving forward. At a forum to celebrate the region’s history of shark conservation, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi announced that the country is designating all of its national waters a shark sanctuary.
The new shark sanctuary, which is the 17th of its kind in the world, will ban commercial fishing and the possession, trade, and sale of sharks and shark products through Samoa’s 49,421 square miles and prohibits the use of fishing gear typically used to target sharks, such as wire leaders.
The announcement is a great step forward into shark conservation. Globally, as many as 270 million sharks are killed every year in commercial fisheries.
The announcement came at the Pacific Shark Ministerial Symposium and ministers and senior officials from 10 Pacific island nations attended the forum. The purpose of the symposium was to highlight past shark conservation actions and encourage ministers to do more to protect the keystone species.
Ministers and senior officials from 10 Pacific island nations attended the symposium, which also highlighted past shark conservation actions and encouraged ministers to do more to protect these vital species.