Guam Now One of the Shark-Friendliest Places on Earth

Publication: Time Magazine

Author: Krista Mahr

02/25/2011 - If you're a shark, the Pacific Islands are not a bad place to be these days. Yesterday, the Senate of Guam followed Hawaii's lead and became the third region to move to ban the sale, possession and distribution of shark products in the U.S. territory. Hawaii was the first U.S. state to make the move last year, followed by the Mariana Islands north of Guam. Palau, the Maldives and Honduras all also prohibit all commercial fishing of sharks in their waters.

How did this swath of the ocean become the epicenter of shark conservation? Partly because, in the long run, a live shark is worth more than a dead shark.

All of these island economies rely on the tourists who come to ogle their ocean life – and sharks are usually at the top of their list. After supporting the U.S. military defense industry, tourism is Guam's biggest moneymaker.

But Matt Rand, the director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Shark Conservation program, says there's more to this growing trend than the bottom line. “My observation is that Pacific Islanders understand that there is a balance that needs to be struck out there in ocean,” Rand says. “When you overexploit it, you throw it out of whack.”

Read the full article Guam Now One of the Shark-Friendliest Places on Earth on Time Magazine's Web site.

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