08/07/2011 - Micronesian islands have declared vast areas of the Pacific Ocean to be a sanctuary for sharks. It's the latest move in a trend to create zones where sharks can live undisturbed.
These top predators are in serious decline around the world because they are being over-fished. Mostly, they are caught to feed an insatiable appetite for shark-fin soup in Asia.
"We're talking about an area two-thirds of the size of the continental United States," says Matt Rand at the Pew Environment Group. "That is a significant safe-haven for sharks."
Pew has been working behind the scenes to create these shark havens. Rand says Micronesia's declaration is a huge step forward. And these nations aren't simply doing it because they care about nature. It's also about money.
"From an economic perspective, dive tourism is growing," Rand says, "and there's significant interest from divers to see sharks. It's the pinnacle of a dive when you get to see a shark in the open ocean."
Read the full article, Fighting Decline, Micronesia Creates Shark Sanctuary, on NPR's Web site.