Honduras Creates a Shark Sanctuary

In a sign that the global movement to protect sharks is picking up steam, Honduras is declaring its waters to be a permanent sanctuary for the fish.

President Porfirio Lobo Sosa will sign the sanctuary bill into law on Friday on a visit to the island of Roatan, the country's top diving and snorkeling destination, his office said on Thursday. The move makes permanent a moratorium on commercial fishing for sharks that Honduras announced last year in a joint declaration with the Micronesian island of Palau.


Conservationists applauded the move. “There's real momentum growing for shark conservation that wasn't there a decade ago,” said Jill M. Hepp, manager of global shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group.


Ms. Hepp said the Honduran sanctuary would help to protect dozens of species, including hammerheads, Caribbean reef sharks and oceanic whitetips, all of which are feeling the pressure of fishing.

“All sharks take a long time to grow and mature,” Ms. Hepp said, “so they really need more protection than just the traditional fisheries management tools like size limits and closed seasons. Wholesale sanctuaries are a much better option."


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