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Palau appeals for new shark haven to be respected

Von: abc (abc@123.cl) [Profil]
Datum: 30.09.2009 17:04
Message-ID: <20090930-150410.357.0@abc.shawnews.vc.shawcable.net>
Newsgroup: alt.animals.whales alt.animals.dolphins alt.animals
Palau appeals for new shark haven to be respected


September 28, 2009


An Australian national marine unit officer holds shark fins found on a
detained fishing vessel off Australia's northern coastline. The tiny
Pacific republic of Palau, which has declared itself the world's first
shark sanctuary, has urged international respect for the decision to
compensate for its lack of enforcement ability.

An Australian national marine unit officer holds shark fins found on a
detained fishing vessel off Australia's northern coastline. The tiny
Pacific republic of Palau, which has declared itself the world's first
shark sanctuary, has urged international respect for the decision to
compensate for its lack of enforcement ability.
Photograph by: AFP,

KOROR  The tiny Pacific republic of Palau, which has declared itself
the world's first shark sanctuary, has urged international respect for
the decision to compensate for its lack of enforcement ability.

President Johnson Toribiong unveiled details of the sanctuary in his
speech to the United Nations on Friday.

However, the small country which presides over rich fishing grounds has
only one patrol ship to enforce the sanctuary in Palau's 621,600 square
kilometre (237,000 square mile) exclusive economic zone, an area about
the size of France.

Toribiong, who described sharks as "a natural barometer for the health
of our oceans", appealed to world leaders to join Palau's effort to
protect the sharks.

"Palau will become the world?s first national shark sanctuary, ending
all commercial shark fishing in our waters and giving a sanctuary for
sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of
ocean," he said.

"We call upon all nations to join us."

Palau came to prominence as a shark campaigner in 2003 with the
introduction of anti-shark fishing legislation which carries a $250,000
US fine for fishing, mutilation and transport of sharks in Palau
waters.

Then president Tommy Remengesau Jr. staged a spectacular protest that
same year when he publicly set fire to shark fins seized from a foreign
vessel found in Palau waters.

However, shark fishing remains a lucrative business, especially with
the demand in parts of Asia for shark's fin soup, and a recent flyover
of Palau waters found more than 70 foreign fishing vessels, many of
them operating illegally.

"It is anomalous that Palau is experiencing economic difficulty while
it sits in the middle of the richest waters in the world. We can no
longer stand by while foreign vessels illicitly come to our waters,"
Toribiong said.

About 130 shark species are found in Palau waters and Matt Rand,
director of the Pew Environment Group?s global shark conservation
campaign, said the sanctuary declaration would fill a "dire need" to
save the creatures.

"More than one third of the world?s shark species are threatened or
near threatened with extinction," Rand said.

Dermot Keane, founder of the Palau Shark Sanctuary, believed
Toribiong's initiative would take marine conservation and shark
protection to a new level.

It sends the message that "shark fishing is no longer acceptable and
that the country will enforce its laws and those who violate it should
be held liable".

With a population of about 21,000, Palau is one of the smallest
countries in the world with an economy heavily reliant on tourism and
fishing.

Much of the tourist activity is centered on diving and snorkelling in
tropical waters filled with coral reefs, marine life and World War II
wrecks.


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