Friday, May 09, 2014

Chuuk Declares Shark Sanctuary

Chuuk Senate
Chuuk State declared a shark sanctuary yesterday in a ceremonial signing in Weno.  I wasn't there, but I was there last month meeting with the Senate on the day the law was introduced.  You can read about the declaration on the Pew and Shark Defenders websites.  I'm hoping a few newspapers write about the declaration, too.

The declaration of the shark sanctuary in Chuuk completes the legal framework agreed to by the members of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures.  I helped negotiate that agreement along with my good friends Carlotta Leon Guerrero and Matt Rand in 2011.  Prior to that agreement, Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands had protected sharks.  Since then, the Marshall Islands, American Samoa, Kosrae, Yap, Pohnpei, and now Chuuk have protected sharks.

It has been a fun ride, and now we get to spend the rest of our lives implementing and refining the protections.  The champions of the policy, the Micronesia Conservation Trust, Chuuk Conservation Society, and my employer, The Pew Charitable Trusts will follow up with enforcement training and continued outreach and education.

Carlotta and me
The trip last month was my fourth trip to Chuuk, and my second this year.  I visited in 2008 to attend a TNC led Conservation Action Plan training and went again in 2012, when I visited Shark Island.

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