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Natural Awakenings

Jaws Cause: Shark Protection Going Global

Aug 31, 2011 10:09AM

Governments around the world are taking action to protect sharks. News from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) points out that sharks are more valuable alive than dead, because they keep ecosystems healthy. Plus, shark-related tourism is becoming a major industry. All of this value is squandered when an estimated 26 to 73 million sharks are killed annually for short-term gain from the sale of their fins.

The Chilean National Congress has passed legislation that bans shark finning in their waters, even though the country has been a major exporter of shark fins for soup, and The Bahamas recently joined Honduras, the Maldives and Palau in outlawing the practice. Hawaii and Fiji also realize that because sharks swim into unprotected waters, banning the sale and trade of fins is the best way to protect sharks. California is working on a similar approach.

NRDC is calling on nations to do what they can by putting an end to finning in their waters or by stopping the trade of fins in their country, prior to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro next year.

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