Palau – Shark Sanctuary

Palau is to create the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters. That means that it is creating a 600,000 sq km safe zone for the protection of 130 threatened species of shark that frequent their waters. To give you an idea what this area means;

Singapore
Area: total: 692.7 sq km
land: 682.7 sq km – Can you imagine what Singapore would do with a space 1000 times bigger than our current land!
water: 10 sq km

Thailand: 514,000 sq km
Peninsular Malaysia: 131,500 sq km
World water area: 61,000,000 sq km

That is a big area! For those of you who can imagine, it is like
Thailand + Peninsular Malaysia

The President of Palau is a pretty spunky fellow. Here is a quote from the BBC article that I really like.

President Toribiong on sharks: “And we feel that the need to protect the sharks outweighs the need to enjoy a bowl of soup.”
Asked what he would be urging other leaders to do, he said simply: “To follow suit.”

I really hope he means it because according to BBC, Palau only has one patrol boat for to monitor their waters. How are they going to enforce the ban? Maybe they can use that Guantanamo Money to buy more patrol boats, radars etc.
Four Afterthoughts
1. 100 million sharks are killed each year around the world.
100 million sharks are killed each year around the world.
100 million sharks are killed each year around the world.
100 million sharks are killed each year around the world.
100 million sharks are killed each year around the world.

2. 600,000 sq km is less than 1% of the world water area. I wonder what area is actually safe for sharks to roam.

3. Why does it it always the small developing countries that make moves like this first (Maldives, Palau)? Sure, they are dependent on tourism, and yes, they are out there in the ocean, in direct contact with the sharks. But they could have also easily just given in to the huge Asian demand like other countries. They could have easily turned a blind eye like we do.

What is Singapore doing? What is the diving community doing? What is Gill doing? What am I doing? We all know what is happening, how many people actually have the courage to boycott our friends’ weddings if they serve Sharks Fin. How many of us boycott places that serve Sharksfin. I do. I confess, I let it slide when hungry staff/friends orderd from Macpherson for themselves and for me. (They have sharks fin on their menu and are 1 or 2 places that actually deliver to Gill). But no more, I will not slip again.

4. Palau – This has strengthened my resolve to visit this country. The Blue Hole and Blue Corner. The jellyfish lake. Dear Palau, I will visit you next year! For like-minded folk, email me at [email protected]! I’m looking for buddies.

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