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

The island nation of Kiribati has established a large shark sanctuary that will help ensure the creatures are protected across much of the central Pacific.
Vice President Kourabi Nenem said at the sanctuary's launch that the nation was committed to protecting sharks from exploitation and overfishing.
Kiribati has banned commercial shark fishing in the sanctuary, which is about the size of India.
Palau established the first shark sanctuary in the region in 2009, and 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 because they're slow to mature and reproduce.
Sharks are prized by some for their fins, which are used in shark fin soup.
Ben Namakin, who was born in Kiribati and has pushed for the sanctuary, said he first began to consult elders and community groups with the idea about four years ago. He said some people were resistant at first because Kiribati had a tradition of catching and eating sharks.
But he said the elders didn't like the way commercial operators were fishing for the creatures and understood their 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, the director of Pew's global shark conservation campaign, said the Pacific islands were leading the way when it came to protecting sharks and that Kiribati's announcement represented another significant step.
He said enforcement of the sanctuaries throughout the Pacific remained a difficult issue.
Warwick said the image of sharks was changing.
"Although they got a bad rap in the past, there's a growing movement that sees them as quite vulnerable," he said. "They need very strong protection."

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

  • irisp-ste
    12/05/2016 - 09:06 a.m.

    Sharks are not as dangerous as what many people believe them to be. If a person bothers them or invades their territory, they are going to want to protect themselves. They deserve to be in a sanctuary to avoid a large decrease in their population.

  • zakrym-ste
    12/05/2016 - 01:33 p.m.

    I think it would be a good idea to capture a lot of sharks and put them in captivity so they could be safe. the people would be safe. there would be less attacks. no one would go near the sanctuary

  • monicas-ste
    12/05/2016 - 02:43 p.m.

    Sharks are so cool. It's amazing that they did this. That's insane.

  • kaileew-ste
    12/06/2016 - 01:52 p.m.

    A shark sanctuary was established at Kiribati. The first shark sanctuary in the region was established in 2009. Luke Warwick believes the image of sharks is beginning to change.

  • noahr-ste
    12/09/2016 - 01:30 p.m.

    Sharks are not as dangerous as believed to be they are just very territorial. It is common for a shark as well when they are hunting to mistaken humans as fish.They need protected because they are worth a lot of money and poachers hunt them down like its nothing.

  • emilyb2-bur
    1/17/2017 - 01:15 p.m.

    Even though sharks are dangerous , they need to be protected because as it said in the passage they are slow to mature and to reproduce. I think it is amazing that they made a place where sharks can mature and not be killed to make shark soup with their fins.

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