The Maldives definitely knows who's paying the bills these days... The low-lying Indian Ocean nation has declared the entirety of its 90,000 square mile Exclusive Economic Zone a shark sanctuary, banning all fishing as well as imports and exports of shark fins.
Tourism now forms the majority of the Maldives' economy, but fishing is growing in importance and competing with tourism in terms of preserving the very natural resources people come to see. In the case of sharks, the more than 30 species found in the waters around the Maldives.
Praising the move, Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group said:
Countries are beginning to recognize just how important vibrant shark populations are to healthy ecosystems, and to their ecotourism industries. Today's announcement protects the Maldives' tourism industry from the the ravages of the shark fin trade. It is a bold and farsighted move on the part of the government of the Maldives.
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