Honduras is now a permanent shark sanctuary so any shark fins found are illegal - the International Union for Conservation of Nature says that 30 percent of all shark populations around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction.
Shark fins are worth $300 per pound in the global marketplace but they are illegal in Honduras and five other countries; Palau, the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, the Bahamas, and the Maldives. Together those comprise more than 1.8 million square miles of ocean. On June 24, 2011, President Porfirio Lobo Sosa announced a permanent shark sanctuary in Honduran waters. The designation encompasses all 240,000 square kilometers (92,665 square miles) of the country's exclusive economic zone on its Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
So when the fins, mostly from nurse sharks, were seized in April by the Honduran navy, it was a safe assumption the fins were obtained illegally. Still, with 14% inflation and 22% of the country below poverty levels surely something could have been done with the hundreds of shark fins, worth that $300 per pound as mentioned. The poachers were already penalized but actual law-abiding poor people could have been helped with the money for a product perfectly legal in plenty of other countries.
Instead, President Porfirio Lobo joined the country's top law enforcement officials yesterday in a bit of political theater, to watch the burning of the illegal shark fins.
Honduran officials burn hundreds of shark fins. Credit: Javier Maradiaga, Pew Environment Group
"Unfortunately there are few limits on the number of sharks that can be killed beyond the borders of our sanctuary, but we are committed to putting a stop to this activity in Honduras," Lobo said. "These animals play an important role in maintaining healthy coastal areas, our fisheries are dependent upon them, and they provide revenue by bringing tourists and divers to Honduras to see sharks. They are worth far more alive than dead."
In 2011 and 2012, Palau and the Marshall Islands fined Taiwanese and Japanese vessels $65,000 and $125,000 respectively for crossing into their waters.
"We salute the government of Honduras and its law enforcement officers for swiftly implementing its shark sanctuary," said Maximiliano Bello, who advises the Pew Environment Group on shark conservation and spoke at the event. "More comprehensive measures and enforcement actions such as these are still needed to protect the ocean's top predators from extinction."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Erupting Bardarbunga Volcano In Iceland Sits On A Massive Magma Hot Spot
- Climate Change Caused By The Ocean
- Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is
- Genetically Modified Stem Cells Kill Brain Tumors
- How Gut Bacteria Ensure A Healthy Brain – and Could Play A Role In Treating Depression
- Psychiatry Should Switch From Symptom-based Prescriptions To Target-based
- Germany’s Green Energy Gamble Could Really Use Some Vorsprung Durch Technik
- "Well stated dersu. I add that the big problem is we still don't have a working model of the brain..."
- "Underage drinking is declining in the US - has been for about a decade. Don't easily available..."
- "A lower range of likely values for climate sensitivity, a larger role from the oceans, if..."
- "But do you understand that these futuristic machines may also be used to study the property of..."
- "Both in this article and the press release from ASU Biodesign are carefully worded allusion to..."
- How to sell a toxic pesticide the smart way–call it organic
- Leftist dystopia? Anti-technology fever animates opposition to GMOs and other ‘disruptive’ technologies
- CDC faced a nearly impossible balancing act with Ebola, and failed
- Why Chobani reversed course, making yoghurt only from milk from cows not fed GMO grain
- Monterey, California, hotbed of anti-GMO activism, home to new GMO corn farm
- Evolution is sometimes messy or even outright ridiculous