New Caledonia bans shark fishing

Apr 24, 2013
An aerial view of the Mangrove of the French Pacific island territory of New Caledonia, in September 2006. The government of the Pacific paradise of New Caledonia said Wednesday it had decided to ban fishing of sharks, which are being decimated to feed growing demand for luxury goods.

The government of the Pacific paradise of New Caledonia said Wednesday it had decided to ban fishing of sharks, which are being decimated to feed growing demand for luxury goods.

"New Caledonia took the decision to ban the fishing, capture, detention or commercialisation of all species of sharks" in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ)—an area roughly the size of South Africa, authorities in the French territory said.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, mostly for their fins, which are used for expensive, luxury soups in China.

Conservationists warn that dozens of species are under threat. Over the past 100 years, 90 percent of the world's sharks have disappeared, mostly because of overfishing, the FAO says.

Shark-fin soup was once a luxury enjoyed just by China's elite, but as the country's 1.3 billion people have grown wealthier and incorporated it into their festivities, have been increasingly decimated.

The government of New Caledonia also banned so-called "shark-feeding", a popular adrenalin-fuelled tourist activity that consists in giving food to the animals to observe them from a close vantage point.

The territory joins other countries in the region to have created shark sanctuaries, including , Palau and Cook Islands.

"Asian flotillas don't come to New Caledonia's EEZ but this will stop any attempt to do so. It's a really good decision, as it affects all species," said Thea Jacob of the WWF.

New Caledonia's decision joins a growing trend of protecting worldwide, despite opposition from countries such as Japan and China that support shark fishing.

Last month, a decision to restrict exports of the , the porbeagle, three types of hammerhead and the manta ray won final approval by the 178-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The species now join the , the whale shark and the basking shark, which already enjoy international trade controls.

Explore further: EU must take urgent action on invasive species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Opponents fail to overturn shark-protection deal

Mar 14, 2013

Japan, China and other nations that support shark fishing lost a bid to overturn a landmark deal that offers global trade protection for several species of the ocean's oldest predator.

US backs adding teeth to global shark protection

Jan 25, 2013

The United States said Friday it would support proposals to curb the trade of five shark species and manta rays, whose numbers are declining because of demand for fins and gills.

Recommended for you

Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

10 hours ago

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as ...

EU must take urgent action on invasive species

13 hours ago

The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...