Kiribati establishes large shark sanctuary In this March 30, 2004, file photo, a man fishes on a bridge on Tarawa atoll, Kiribati. The island nation of Kiribati established a large shark sanctuary that will help ensure the creatures are protected across much of the central Pacific. (AP Photo/Richard Voge/John Bazemore, File)
Kiribati establishes large shark sanctuary
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The island nation of Kiribati has established a large shark sanctuary. It will help ensure the creatures are protected across much of the central Pacific.
 
Vice President Kourabi Nenem said that the nation was committed to protecting sharks from exploitation and overfishing.
 
Kiribati has banned commercial shark fishing in the sanctuary. The area is about the size of India.
 
Palau established the first shark sanctuary in the region. That was in 2009. It has been followed by the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia and other nations.
 
The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that 100 million sharks are killed each year by commercial fisheries. It says sharks are vulnerable to overfishing. That's because they're slow to mature and reproduce.
 
Sharks are prized by some for their fins. The fins are used in shark fin soup.
 
Ben Namakin was born in Kiribati. He has pushed for the sanctuary. He said he first began to consult elders and community groups with the idea about four years ago. He said some people were resistant. This is because Kiribati had a tradition of catching and eating sharks.
 
But he said the elders didn't like the way commercial operators were fishing. The elders understood the creatures' plight more when told of their unusual biology.
 
"They came to realize the shark sanctuary was important to protecting our culture," Namakin said.
 
Luke Warwick is the director of Pew's global shark conservation campaign. He said the Pacific islands were leading the way when it came to protecting sharks. Kiribati's announcement represented another major step, Warwick said.
 
He said enforcement of the sanctuaries throughout the Pacific remained a difficult issue.
 
Warwick said the image of sharks was changing.
 
"They got a bad rap in the past. Now there is a growing movement that sees them as quite vulnerable," he said. "They need very strong protection."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
If sharks are so dangerous, why do they need to be protected in a sanctuary?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (8)
  • mr.cool-
    12/02/2016 - 11:50 a.m.

    They need to be protected because sharks are endangered because people think of them as man eating animals. Sharks are not looking to eat you they are just getting a signal from the Ampullae of Lorenzini (electro recoptors.) The just want to try to see what you are.

  • cadinl-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:21 p.m.

    Sharks really aren't that dangerous. The only reason they would attack you is if they think that you are their prey.They need to be protected because they are endangered. People are always trying to kill sharks for their fins.

  • waiyan1-eri
    12/07/2016 - 02:36 a.m.

    They might be dangerous to humans but they are impotent to Earth, eco-systems and the food chain which might effect us as the food chain goes on. By killing sharks, we'll lose a part of the chain and humans our selfs will starve.

  • maythu2-eri
    12/07/2016 - 07:37 a.m.

    Sharks play an important role in the ocean. They need to eat the fish so it will not be so overcrowded in the sea. They need to be protected because of this reason and the reason that their reproduction is slow so if there is not enough of these species, the sharks will disappear completely.

  • noaho-lin
    12/09/2016 - 02:07 p.m.

    Even though sharks are dangerous it doesn't mean that you have to kill them. I like sharks and I would like to learn a lot about them. in my opinion I think fishing sharks should be banned.

  • andrews1-jen
    12/13/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    Sharks really aren't that dangerous. The only reason they would attack you is if they think that you are their prey.They need to be protected because they are endangered. People are always trying to kill sharks for their fins.

  • loganp-jen
    12/13/2016 - 02:52 p.m.

    So that the people don't get hurt

  • edniap-jen
    12/13/2016 - 02:57 p.m.

    sharks are tirning into soap and they can change a ecosistame

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