Scientists have completed a first global diver-based survey of shark sanctuaries around the world. The researchers assessed baseline shark populations, patterns of human use, and education and threats. Christine Ward-Paige and Boris Worm from Dalhousie University in Canada assessed 15 shark sanctuaries and compared their observations with data from 23 non-sanctuary countries.
In 2009, Palau became the first nation to ban commercial shark fishing in its waters. In addition, it implemented laws that ban the possession, trade and sale of sharks and their products. Since then, 15 ‘shark sanctuaries’ have been declared by coastal nations across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Together they now cover three per cent of the oceans worldwide.