In a strong move for the marine conservation movement, the government of the Bahamas has banned commercial fishing for sharks, as well as selling, exporting, or importing shark meat. The archipelago has one of the most diverse and healthiest shark populations in the world, and this move will ensure a healthy future for the often maligned creatures. Not only is it a good move from a conservation and marine ecosystem standpoint, but also from a tourism standpoint as thousands of people visit the region annually to dive with sharks and other marine wildlife.
According to the Pew Environment Group, 73 million sharks are killed annually, and often just for their fins to be used in shark fin soup. As apex predators in the sea, their survival is crucial for the health of the entire ecosystem, and the government and people of the Bahamas should be praised for their sound decision making.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo: A shark in waters off the Bahamas. (AP via NYT)