The Cook Islands recently announced the creation of a new shark sanctuary in its waters.
The 1.9 million square kilometer sanctuary is adjacent to one established just last week by French Polynesia. Together, the sanctuaries make a 6.7 million sq km shark safe zone that is almost as large as Australia. This is the largest shark sanctuary in the world. Within its borders, all shark fishing and the sale or possession of shark products is banned.
“We are proud as Cook Islanders to provide our entire exclusive economic zone… as a shark sanctuary,” said Teina Bishop, Cook Islands minister of marine resources. “We join our Pacific neighbors to protect this animal, which is very vital to the health of our oceans, and our culture.”
“This is hopeful news for the world’s sharks and our efforts to protect them,” said Jill Hepp, director of shark conservation for the Pew Environment Group that helped make the sanctuary possible. “We are thrilled to see the Cook Islands become part of this global movement during a time when so many shark populations are threatened.”
To learn more:
- Check out this article from BBC News: Cook Islands’ shark sanctuary creates world’s largest
- And this one from the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative: The Cook Islands declared their waters a shark sanctuary on December 12, 2012
- And this one from Pew: Cook Islands Creates Sanctuary for Sharks
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.