Opinion: Shark Sanctuaries: Does the Ocean’s Greatest Predator Need to Be Protected?

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Juliet Eilperin


08/02/2011 - When I tell people that I’ve published a new book — “Demon Fish” — people have one of two reactions. They’re either completely freaked out, or they think I can save them from being eaten alive when they venture into the water.

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The Federated States of Micronesia, along with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, announced Monday that they would start working on a regional sanctuary that would both ban shark fishing and prohibit the possession, sale and trade of shark fins on land.

Palau President Johnson Toribiong, who created the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, said his country and others were committed to saving the ocean’s top predator.

“The world must rise with us to protect our oceans and our environment,” said Toribiong, who has urged other world leaders to follow his example. “That is the moral obligation of this generation for the benefit of the next.”

The leaders kicked off the process last week by passing a resolution at the 15th Micronesian Chief Executive Summit.  Matt Rand, who directs global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group, said the fact that the issue has risen to such a high level in Micronesia shows that people are looking at sharks in a different way now.

“It says that their time has come, I hope, and sharks will get the protection they so desperately need,” Rand said in a phone interview.

Read the full article, Shark Sanctuaries: Does the Ocean’s Greatest Predator Need to Be Protected?, on The Washington Post's Web site.

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