The Bahamas have just joined in with a string of countries that are putting shark conservation at the top of the priority list. Just last week the Honduras announced its new shark sanctuary. Before that it was the Maldives in 2010 and Palau in 2009. Earlier this week the Bahamas have announced that they have converted 243,244 square miles of the country's waters into a shark sanctuary. This will prohibit any commercial fishing of the sharks and also the sale, importation and export of shark products.

The Bahamians need to be applauded as bold leaders in marine conservation as this action will protect more than 40 shark species in Bahamian waters. Of course the difficult part will be the enforcement of the sanctuary. Illegal shark fishing is a huge problem as the demand for shark fin soup is at an all time high among the Chinese.

The demand for shark fins is due to the rapid economic growth in China since the delicacy was created during the Sung dynasty 1,000 years ago as a way for the Chinese to show off their wealth. The value of shark fins is worth 100 times more than that of shark meat so this is why the fisherman just cut off the fin and throw the mutilated shark back into the ocean to die. Millions of sharks die every year to support this cultural demand. But China isn't the only place where sharks are demanded. Japan has shark-fin sushi and some countries sell shark-fin cat food.

What it all boils down to is that in order to save the sharks, conservationists are going to have to win over consumers in Asia and change the image of shark-fin soup. Some positive signs of change have already been seen, for example a lawmaker in the National People's Congress has introduced legislation banning the trade of shark fins in China. Although such a law has little chance of passing at this time, it is a start in the right direction. Also some prominent Chinese have begun to speak out for sharks. For example, NBA star Yao Ming has pledged never to eat shark-fin soup. However it is the young people in China who will most likely be the ones to end the consumption of shark fin soup. They are the ones who are starting a conservation movement in China. Thankfully, for it is not a minute too soon!

Stop Shark Slaughter. PETITION

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