Tag: shark fishing

Indonesia’s First Shark Sanctuary – Raja Ampat Leads the Way

This week has without a doubt been the highlight of my career as a marine conservationist. And, as someone who has had a long-term love affair with the world’s oceans, it’s been a life highlight as well.

On 20 February 2013, the Raja Ampat government officially announced that it has declared its entire 4 million hectares of coastal and marine waters a shark sanctuary.

This means that all harvesting of sharks is now prohibited in its waters. In addition, the sanctuary also gives full protection to a number ecologically and economically important ocean species, such as manta rays, dugongs, whales, turtles, dolphins and ornamental fish species.

Why is this important and why should we care?

Well, sharks have a really hard time in our oceans. Beyond the often over-amplified fear people have of sharks, they are also targeted for their high-priced fins or are caught accidently in fishing nets.

It is estimated that at least 26-73 million sharks are killed each year globally, mostly for their fins. Shark finning is one of the cruelest practices around—it involves throwing a still-breathing shark overboard with its fins cut off and its body bleeding into the water.

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