The prime minister of Samoa has declared the territorial waters surrounding the island nation to be a shark sanctuary. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s declaration bans the collection, sale or trade of shark fins in Samoa’s waters.
“We will not sit idly by while the demand for shark products robs us our future generations of these culturally, ecologically and economically valuable species,” the P.M. told the Samoan Observer.
Earlier this year, Samoa joined in a commitment to recognize threatened sharks and rays to the United Nations. As is the case with so many other nations, marine ecotourism is a large industry and the sanctuary will further protect shark species and encourage visitors to view them in the wild.
Samoa joins other Pacific nations such as Kiribati, Cook Islands, and New Zealand, which have created protected areas for sharks. Palau created the first shark sanctuary in 2009.
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