The Marshall Islands had a directed shark fishery ahead of the shark sanctuary declaration. In fact, the BBC list shark fins as one of their main exports. This declaration was not an easy choice for the leaders in the Marshalls, but it sends a powerful, symbolic message to the rest of the world.
The Marshalls are giving up an income source in banning the fishing of sharks, but these protections will open the doors to dive tourism, not to mention build resilience for their marine ecosystems. I had the chance to visit there in 2007 and again this year. You should add a visit to your bucket list.
For a preview of your upcoming visit, here's a video from the Marhall Islands Conservation Society and HD Under H2O:
Again, congrats, Marshall Islands!!!
And it is time for the United States to do something similar. I started a petition on the Obama White House website that calls for a "ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products, including shark fin." As of this writing it needs 1,800 more signatures to reach the level that will guarantee a response from the president.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION