This week the Pew Charitable Trusts released a new video on efforts in Palau, Honduras, and the Marshall Islands to patrol and enforce their huge shark sanctuaries.
The Pew Charitable Trusts has worked with eight countries and territories around the world in recent years to establish shark sanctuaries, implementing policies that ban commercial fishing of sharks and possession of fishing gear used to target them. Enforcing laws in these sanctuaries, which can span millions of square kilometers, may seem like a daunting task. Yet officials in such places as the Marshall Islands, Honduras, and Palau have proved that they do enforce sanctuary laws and that their countries can benefit from strong shark protections.As if to hammer home the point that shark sanctuaries are working, La Tribuna reports today that 32 shark poachers have been detained in Honduras. Authorities confiscated 11,000 pounds of shark steaks from the fishermen, which authorities estimate represents about 1,200 to 1,500 dead sharks. While it is disappointing that this many sharks were killed, it is encouraging that enforcement is taking place and will hopefully serve as a deterrence to future poaching.
“I think many of those who said it was impossible have underestimated the commitment of the people and governments that have established these protected areas,” said Angelo Villagomez, a senior associate for global shark conservation with Pew. “It may not always be perfect, but with a combination of dedicated observers, inspections, and port state measures, the job is getting done.”