Friday, September 23, 2011

Mexico to ban Shark Fishing in 2012

H.E. Mrs. Yanerit Morgan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico announced Mexico's intention to declare a moratorium on the hunting of sharks and stingrays in national waters, in order to protect the dwindling population of these species in the world.  Photo: Pew Environment Group
This week at the United Nations, 8 nations pledged to ban shark fishing and create shark sanctuaries. The New York Times carries the story:
Mexico Will Ban Shark Fishing as Global Sanctuary Movement Grows
By NATHANIAL GRONEWOLD of Greenwire
Published: September 23, 2011

UNITED NATIONS -- Mexico announced here plans yesterday to ban shark and stingray fishing starting next year, creating what would be the largest initiative by one nation to protect shark species.

[snip]

Conservationists estimate that about 73 million sharks are slaughtered each year mainly for acquiring their fins, and they fear that the uncontrolled and illegal fishing of sharks will drive 30 percent of shark species to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's classification of threatened or near threatened with extinction.

"I think that's a tremendous development," said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group. "Mexico is a big fishing nation, it's a very important nation globally, and that's a tremendous statement that was made."

There are currently about five national shark sanctuaries. And more are on the way.

A representative from the Federated States of Micronesia said his nation would likely announce a new shark sanctuary soon. Palau was the first state to establish a sanctuary when President Johnson Toribiong declared his nation's seas and EEZ off-limits to shark fishing.

The Maldives in the Indian Ocean has since followed suit, along with the Marshall Islands. Representatives of Honduras and Colombia were also present when Mexico made its announcement, and those two states say they are pursuing similar initiatives, including a possible protective corridor for sharks stretching from Colombia's Pacific coast to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

[snip]

California recently announced a ban on shark fin sales, Pew's Rand said, and it has being followed by Washington state, Oregon, Hawaii and the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
This is excellent news. Congratulations and thanks you to the governments and people of Mexico, The Bahamas, Palau, Maldives, Honduras, Colombia, Micronesia, and Marshall Islands for pledging and working to protect sharks.

It is about time the United States also took a stronger stand for shark protections. Shark Defenders has started a petition on the White House's We The People website asking President Barack Obama to "ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products, including shark fin."

In the first two days nearly 1,000 people have signed the petition. When it reaches 5,000, the Obama Administration will issue a response.

Please take a few minutes to sign the petition here.

The website is slow and it takes a little bit longer than most petitions sites to sign, but this petition goes directly to the White House and we are guaranteed a response if we meet the threshold of 5,000 signatures by October 22, 2011.

Again, the url is http://www.wh.gov/gWs

Please take a few minutes to sign.

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