Ocean News

Maldives ban on shark fishing in full effect by March 2010

7th October 2009

Back in March this year, the Maldivian government announced their plans to implement a complete ban on shark fishing across the entire archipelago within a 12 nautical mile radius.

Now, at the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission, it was made clear that this initiative will be in full effect by March 2010.

Dr Hussein Rasheed Hassan, the Maldives Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture, stated "We have realised that it is more economically viable to leave the shark and other sea creatures unharmed because the country currently earns about $7 million annually from the diving industry."

Their hope is that, with the majority of tourists coming to the Maldives do so to see sharks and manta rays, that such protection will help bolster dwindling shark populations and thereby generate further revenue through increased tourism.

Dr. Hassan went on to say "The marine ecosystem is very fragile and that is why we have to regulate activities that coupled with the treats of climate change could adversely affect the major sources of income for the country."

With both Palau and the Maldives appreciating both the environment and economic importance of protecting shark populations from over exploitation, this may signal the start of a change in the global fisheries community towards rethinking the shark.