Palau, an island nation located 500 miles east of the Philippines, created shark sanctuary in 2001. According to a recent article in the Fiji Times, the country has stepped up its enforcement, has recently fined the operators of a Taiwanese-flagged vessel caught shark fishing in the preserve, and has banned the captain for one year.
This has given hope to those seeking to establish a similar reserve in Fiji. Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries, with help from the Coral Reef Alliance and the Pew Environment Group, is working on legislation to turn Fiji’s waters into a shark sanctuary.
With the increasing realization that the demise of apex predators has a substantial detrimental effect on the ecology of coral reefs, this type of legislation is seen by many conservationists as necessary to support coral reefs worldwide.
Murray W. Camp