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Venezuela Ends Shark Finning, Prohibits Commercial Fishing At Los Roques; 'New, Far-Reaching Protections'

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Venezuela set forth a series of measures this week to protect sharks within its waters. Most significantly, commercial shark fishing is now prohibited throughout the 2,211 square kilometers (854 square miles) of the Caribbean Sea that make up the popular Los Roques Archipelago, whose pristine beaches and coral reefs make it a diving and fishing attraction.

Scientists have identified Los Roques, located about 128 kilometers (80 miles) off the Venezuelan coast, as an important breeding ground and nursery for populations of several species of sharks, including the lemon shark and the Caribbean reef shark.

"Our research has found that newborn sharks in the mangroves and cays of Los Roques migrate throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean," said Rafael Tavares, an expert with Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrícolas (INIA), Venezuela, who has researched sharks in the region for nearly 20 years. "These new, far-reaching protections would not be possible without the support of the Los Roques community, especially the local fishermen."

The new regulation also prohibits the practice of shark finning (cutting off the fins and dumping the body overboard at sea) and mandates that all of these animals caught in Venezuelan waters must be brought to port with their fins naturally attached.

"Venezuela's decision to prohibit shark finning means that it now joins the rest of the countries of South America, North America and Central America in banning this wasteful practice," said Jill Hepp, manager of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group. "Combined with the breeding ground safe haven in Los Roques and Las Aves, this is the latest step in the growing global movement to save these magnificent animals."

Sharks are highly susceptible to overfishing because of biological characteristics such as long life, low birthrate, and few offspring. It is estimated that up to 73 million are killed annually for their fins, primarily due to increased demand for shark fin soup.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

8 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

The oceans should be governed by a united nation type of council. Shark fining,gill nets,whaling ,over fishing,pollution,and many other crimes of nature need to be addressed. Charities and independent organizations need help. It would be nice to see this happen in our civilized world we now live in. The USA ,China,and others should take the initiative to preserve our oceans and other countries will follow suit. Man must live in harmony with wildlife and it's a shame that there isn't more restrictions on these atrocities .
   comment# 1   - Brian Kowalczyk · East Hartford, CT. USA · Jun 21, 2012 @ 4:55am

Kudos to Venezuela!!!
   comment# 2   - Linda · Rochester, NY · Jun 21, 2012 @ 12:29pm

This is fantastic and congratulations to Venezuela for helping to protect its marine resources, including sharks. Now if the Chinese would stop the out-dated/stupid practice of drinking "shark-fin" soup, the world would be a better place. In fact, the world would be a better place if China stopped killing: tigers, elephants, rhinos, bears, etc., etc., etc.
   comment# 3   - Ed L · Portland, USA · Jun 21, 2012 @ 1:43pm

It.s about time to end all fishing for "SPORTS "sake. This so called "Sport stuff is nothing else but cavemnan urges to please their rprimitive brainfunctions to satisfy their sexual shortcomings. buy yuor meat e grocery store .That's already bad enough .
   comment# 4   - HELMUT GARZ · USA · Jun 21, 2012 @ 2:05pm

The banning of shark finning has really caught on and especially seeing Venezuela join in that really helps close in the Caribbean Basin. Even better was the 2 shark finning restrictions in the Protected Areas in Indonesia that I think both combined was well over 17,760 square miles. Of course there are poachers, but it was the local tribes that were cathching them because they rely on tourism and tourism money in those areas had doubled in 3 or 4 years. The coral reefs were regrowing at rate beyond what was expected, seeing how they were finning with explosives. Just good news to here!
   comment# 5   - JW · South Carolina, USA · Jun 21, 2012 @ 3:15pm

Very pleased about this development. Customers wanting to eat shark fin soup, fois de gras, veal etc are the real problems. If they were to investigate just a little bit where their food comes from, how it is raised or caught, or how much suffering an animal has to undergo for them to eat, we would have less negative environmental impact and less animal suffering.
   comment# 6   - Marie Schwartz · Fayetteville, Georgia USza · Jun 21, 2012 @ 5:26pm

GOOD one for the SPECIES and the Planet TIO CHAVEZ...SLOW reproduction and growth rates, the penchant for SHARK FINSOUP and FIVE JAWS MOVIES makes for TOUGH TIMES for these TOOTHSOME apex predators!!!
   comment# 7   - Terminator · Belize · Jun 22, 2012 @ 3:20pm

This is a good practice because finally they have banned this disruptive behaviour.
   comment# 8   - Nicole Albelda · Manila, Philippines · Oct 15, 2012 @ 8:09pm
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