In wake of action taken to protect sharks by the Maldives and Palau, the support for shark sanctuaries continues to grow, as a ban on all shark fishing in Honduras has been announced. This moratorium will be imposed in order to allow the health of shark populations and their actual contribution to the local community to be assessed.
To achieve this the government plans to collaborate with researchers and the tourism industry, including the Shark Legacy Project based in Roatan, who championed the cause to DIGIPESCA – the Honduras Fisheries Department. The idea is to establish the tangible worth of Honduras’ coastal shark populations to the local economy such that the viability of shark tourism as a source of income over shark fishing can be determined.
The Shark Legacy Project highlights that not only does shark tourism generate revenue directly through people willing to pay high fees to dive with sharks, but the visitors also pay for accommodation and public transport, eat and drink in restaurants, shop for souvenirs and go on other excursions whilst on holiday, often travelling in groups with family or friends.
In this way the shark tourism industry has incredible potential to provide a substantial source of revenue that could herald a more sustainable way of exploiting sharks in Honduran waters that benefits the ecosystem as well as the livelihood of the community.
With the Maldives, Palau and now Honduras leading by example, this could be the start of a most welcome positive trend in shark conservation.