Samoa has declared its waters as a shark sanctuary, joining other Pacific countries to conserve marine life.
The announcement was made by the prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Aiono Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, at a ministerial shark symposium in Apia, Samoa’s capital, officially banning all commercial fishing, sale and trade for all sharks and rays.
“Samoa has joined the positions of other shark conservation Pacific islands by designating our national waters a shark sanctuary, safe for all sharks and rays,” Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer.
“Not only will the complete ban of commercial fishing, sale and trade for all sharks and rays in our waters provide much needed relief declining populations, it will also help prevent further degradation to the health of our oceans,” he added.
The prime minister explained that sharks are a significant species to Pacific heritage and play an important role in ‘healthy ocean ecosystems’.
Samoa is the eighth Pacific country to create a shark sanctuary. Palau, another Pacific island nation, established the first shark sanctuary in 2009.
“We will not sit idly by while the demand for shark products robs us our future generations of these culturally, ecologically and economically valuable species. Let us together continue to safeguard these imperiled species for our future generation.” Tuilaepa told the publication.
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