Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in response to the shark sanctuary designation made by Tokelau, an island territory in the South Pacific. The new sanctuary encompasses all 319,031 square kilometers (123,178 square miles) of Tokelau's exclusive economic zone.
“We congratulate the government and people of Tokelau for giving their shark populations a glorious place to thrive. This action further strengthens the unprecedented global conservation trend to protect these apex predators. From the Bahamas, Chile and Honduras in the Americas, to the Marshall Islands and Guam in Micronesia, governments continue to join our efforts to protect sharks.
“The high demand for shark fins for an Asian soup delicacy, along with wasteful fishing practices, contributes to the death of up to 73 million of these animals annually.
“We are thrilled to see Tokelau take this action and look forward to working with leaders further to protect its sharks.”
This new sanctuary will join the following regions already protected: