Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 4, November 2011

World's Largest Shark Sanctuary Declared in Central Pacific
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The Republic of the Marshall Islands is now home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary. The government passed legislation to end commercial shark fishing in 768,547 square miles of its Pacific waters. The ocean area is four times the size of California.


Key provisions of the comprehensive Marshall Islands' law include:

  • A complete end on commercial shark fishing.

  • The sale of any sharks or shark products is prohibited

  • Any shark caught accidentally by fishing vessels must be set free.

  • Large fines between $25,000 - $200,000 (U.S. money) for anyone fishing for sharks or possessing shark fins.

  • Violators will also be fined the market value of the product.

  • A ban on wire leaders, a longline fishing gear which is among the most lethal to sharks.

  • A monitoring and enforcement provision requiring all fishing vessels to land their catch at a port on the Marshall Islands

  • Sea transfers are banned.

The Pew Environment Group is spearheading efforts to establish shark sanctuaries.

“We salute the Republic of the Marshall Islands for enacting the strongest legislation to protect sharks that we have seen,” said Matt Rand from Pew Environment Group. “As leaders recognize the importance of healthy shark populations to our oceans, the momentum for protecting these animals continues to spread across the globe.

"The Marshall Islands have joined Palau, the Maldives, Honduras, the Bahamas and Tokelau in delivering the gold standard of protection for ensuring shark survival. We look forward to helping other countries enlist in this cause.”

View our interactive shark conservation map to see other protected regions:

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