03/09/2010 - The Maldives will make its territorial waters into a shark sanctuary, a government official said Tuesday, lending momentum to efforts to protect the fish at a United Nations endangered species conference that begins this week.
“We’ve decided to go ahead with a shark fishing ban,” Ibrahim Didi, the fisheries and agriculture minister of the Maldives, said by telephone from Male, the capital. “Beginning July 1 there will be a total ban on exports.”
* * *
In one sense, the bans represent pure economic logic. Researchers from James Cook University in Australia last year estimated that a single gray reef shark was worth $3,300 a year to the Maldivian tourism industry, compared with the one-time value of $32 that a fisherman would get from the same shark. They found a similar dynamic with regard to sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.
But the bigger issue is a rapid decline in global shark stocks that has alarmed scientists. “As many as 30 species are threatened with extinction,” said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group. “If we don’t leave enough in the water, they won’t recover.”
Read the full article Maldives Ban Fishing of Sharks on the New York Times' Web site.