Dr. Mark Erdmann recently posted an article discussing how the recent discovery of a “walking” bamboo shark highlights a shift in Indonesia’s shark conservation attitude. According to Erdmann, Indonesia has gone from leading the world in the export of dried shark fins for almost three decades to creating regulations to protect elasmobranchs (including shark and ray sanctuaries in Raja Ampat and West Manggarai). Erdmann cites an increased awareness of the importance of sharks due to both their role in the ecosystem and potential economic value through eco-tourism.
Scientific discoveries such as the newly discovered ‘walking’ shark (Hemiscyllium halmahera) present an opportunity to the government and local business to promote tourism to Indonesia. The species of bamboo shark uses its fins to ‘walk’ along the ocean floor and could potentially serve as symbol for marine conservation efforts in the region.
Pew Environment Group has released a video of Honduran law officials burning a pile of illegal shark fins, while Honduran president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, watched. President Lobo Sosa declared Honduran waters as a shark sanctuary last year. The burning of the illegal fins, which were primarily fins from nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum), was intended to symbolize Honduras’ commitment to enforcing shark protection laws.
National Geographic reports that the Marshall Islands is now home the world’s largest shark sanctuary. According to the report, the Parliament of the Marshalls unanimously passed legislation that bans commercial shark fishing in the country’s waters, which cover 768,547 square mi (1,990,530 square km).
The new legislation also bans the sale of any sharks and has a “zero retention” stipulation, which requires any sharks that are accidentally caught by commercial vessels to be set free. The legislation also has provisions for enforcement which include large fines for fishing for sharks and possessing sharks or shark products. The law also requires all fishing vessels to land their catch at local ports within the Marshall Islands and bans at-sea transfer.
Underwater cinematographer and professional speaker Annie Crawley recently talked with President Johnson Toribiong about declaring Palau’s waters as a shark sanctuary. President Toribiong discusses how he went about making Palau the world’s first national shark sanctuary. Toribiong also discusses the importance of ocean conservation and the sustainability of marine life. Toribiong also stresses the importance of teaching children to respect the oceans and the environment.
Discovery Networks recently uploaded the video above to their YouTube channel which focuses on recently passed legislation in Chile, Honduras, and the Bahamas that helps to protect sharks within those countries’ waters. Honduras and the Bahamas have recently banned commercial fishing making their waters a “shark sanctuary,” while Chile has banned the practice of shark finning.