Monday, September 2, 2013

Enforcing Protections for Protected Sharks

Oceanic whitetip sharks are easily identified by their rounded, white-tipped fins.
In April 2013, the Marshall Island Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) fined a longlining vessel US$120,000 for fishing for sharks within the Marshall Islands shark sanctuary.  MIMRA confiscated the fins and upon inspection discovered a set of oceanic whitetip sharks, a species protected by every tuna regional fisheries management organization and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.  This species is easily identified, and stood out from the blue, silky, and mako shark fins in the hold.

These fins, and many others confiscated in the bust, will be returned to the ocean tomorrow morning.  While it is too late for this individual vulnerable shark, the continuing enforcement in the Marshall Islands serves as a deterrent for other would-be shark fishermen.

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