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. Those are used in shark fin soup.
 
Ben Namakin was born in Kiribati and 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 at first. 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 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 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 and that Kiribati's announcement represented another important 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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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 (94)
  • matthewk-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    Well, the truth is sharks actually aren't that dangerous. Yes, they have bitten and killed people before but, I was watching a national geographic documentary about sharks and it said that in 2014, more people died from hot dogs than sharks. Also on the topic of protecting the sharks, as the article said they are over-fished and turned into shark fin soup. So the sanctuary serves a good cause because do we really need another species of animal extinct?

    -Matt

  • nicholasa-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:15 p.m.

    You need to protect the sharks because the sharks will go extinct soon if we do not protect them. The sharks are part of The nation of Kiribati's culture to eat shark fin soup and the meat in them. Kiribati wants to keep their culture like that so the make a sanctuary were shark hunters can not kill the sharks.

  • jasminec1-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:17 p.m.

    Sharks are very dangerous creatures and need to be protected in a sanctuary because about 100 million are killed every year. People kill sharks to get their fins, and make shark fin soup with it. I think it was a good idea to put those sharks in a sanctuary.

  • matthewb2-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:19 p.m.

    I know that sharks are dangerous.But in the Pacific ocean there is an big issue. Plus if the sharks are not protected in the sanctuary they will be instinct soon.

  • setho-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    Sharks need to be protected because they get hunted for their fins to be put in soups. If the sharks are taken to a sanctuary, the shark is safe. Why? Because you can't really fish in a sanctuary so it's a nice for the sharks to have some place to swim around in and not get hunted for their fins. Thank goodness!

  • zoed-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    There are a couple ways to answer that question. One answer is because sharks a killed by fishermen. About 100 million sharks each year. That leads into the second answer; It's also because some people had a tradition of killing and eating sharks.

  • haydenf-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    I think this sanctuary idea is cool. It's cool because the sharks would be super safe and could be happy. It's also cool because you could look at the sharks and I mean seriously, it's really cool. Shark=cool, they, are, awesome.

  • avnik-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    Sharks aren't as dangerous as they seem. They might seem like deadly creatures that eat humans. That is not entirely true. Sharks have attacked humans once, but a shark would much rather attack a seal than a human. Sharks must be protected in a sanctuary because some species of sharks are endangered. This is happening because humans are cutting off sharks' fins for shark fin soup. This causes a shark to die, even if a human just takes a shark's fin. Other people hunt sharks to eat them. When people kill sharks there are less sharks on Earth. This causes species of sharks to get endangered or even extinct! Sharks must be protected, and a sanctuary is a great place to keep sharks safe. In conclusion, sharks must be protected in a sanctuary so they are safe from humans trying to hurt them.

  • aaravc-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    Sharks need to be protected because Luke Warwick said that "the image of sharks are changing although they had a rap in the past,there's a growing movement that sees them quite vulnerable.

  • brandong2-lin
    12/02/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    Because sharks are not the problem everywhere people are.Sharks and other animals should be free of man made things like buildings etc.Sharks need to be protected because they're going excsticted from polotion and fishers so that's why sharks need to be protected.

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