Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, is committed to protecting their waters from overfishing and have recently announced they have established a large shark sanctuary. The sanctuary is approximately the size of India and commercial shark fishing is banned within it.
This nation comprises 33 atolls and reef islands dispersed over an area of 3.5 million square kilometres and the surrounding waters are home to various shark species that have been the subject of shark finning in recent years. The global shark fin trade is estimated to have a value in the range of US$540 million to US$1.2 billion dollars and approximately 100 million sharks are killed annually for their fins.
Given that sharks play a crucial role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems and one third of all shark species are now vulnerable to extinction, Kiribati’s latest shark sanctuary could not have come at a better time.