The Bahamas has joined a growing number of nations recognizing the need to protect some of the most important members of the ocean ecosystems – sharks! The archipelago has placed a ban on commercial shark fishing as of July 5.
According to the Huffington Post, over forty species of sharks inhabit the waters surrounding the Bahamas and will be protected by the new ban, enacted in response to demands from activists that the government take action. A seafood company was set to begin exporting shark fins and meat from the Bahamas to Hong Kong prior to the signing of the new law.
The ban covers over 240, 000 square miles of ocean and established fines of $5,000 for shark fishing within the protected area.
Sharks have become increasingly threatened due to overfishing. There is a demand for their fins, which are sold to be used in products and food such as shark fin soup. Shark finning has been called cruel by many animal organizations as the sharks are finned while alive and thrown back into the water. It is also a concern to environmental groups because sharks are one of the top predators in the ocean, and therefore very important to the ecosystem.