Mar 12, 2009

Shark Fisheries Banned in the Maldives

The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has imposed a ban on shark fisheries from all the atolls of the Maldives. The ban will be on all shark fisheries within a 12 nautical mile radius. Previously the ban was on imposed on 7 atolls. This is good move after tremendous efforts by various parties and individuals. 

Juvenile Black-Tip Reef Shark fished in Baa Atoll                (Photo: Shaff)

The Ministry has set a target of one year to ban all shark fisheries including oceanic sharks and the export of all shark products. The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture said that "The fishery law clearly tells us that we can protect any marine species if we feel that it's threatened or endangered for any reason. We have taken very strong action against the protection of sharks simply because they were protected worldwide and are very important for tourism."

Juvenile Black-Tip Reef Sharks fished in Baa Atoll         (Photos: Shaff)

It will be a difficult task to enforce the ban, but the ministry says that the responsibility to enforce will have to be shared by the atoll offices, the police and the ministry.

An attempted finning on a live Whale Shark in Ari Atoll      (Photo: Mohamed Faizan Waheed)

According to the Secretary General of Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), the effect of the ban on the tourism industry would be 'tremendous' as 30 percent of the tourists visit the Maldives for it's underwater life and in addition to Manta Rays, Sharks would be their number one priority.

A Grey Reef Shark at Maaya Thila, Ari Atoll     (Photo: Shaff)

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