Good news from Mexico, Green Monsters! The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food has just announced a permanent ban on the capture of the great white shark, in order to conserve the species and enable its successful reproduction in Mexican waters.
Under the new decree, which comes into effect immediately, it is now illegal to hunt the white shark, while any specimens of this animal accidentally caught during fishing operations for other species must be released back into the sea.
Annalia Murias, of Fish Information and Services, says that Mexico has had a national plan of action for the conservation and management of sharks, rays, and related species since 2004. This is part of a broader International Plan of Action aimed at protecting sharks from the myriad threats they face, such as having their fins sawn off and used as an ingredient in shark fin soup.
Murias adds that “the white shark is a resource of slow growth, low reproductive potential and long life. It is present in small populations, which makes it a vulnerable resource,” while Geoff Shester of the conservation group Shark Savers says that the problem of bycatch had been one of the greatest threats to Mexico’s already disturbingly low population of great whites.
Let’s hope this newly-enforced ban on their capture will ensure that these majestic animals continue to thrive for many years to come.
And let’s take heart in the fact that the threats faced by many shark species around the globe are finally being taken seriously, with shark finning being forbidden in New Zealand, shark fin soup being banned from official receptions in China, and Indonesia’s national airline refusing to carry any products associated with this horrific trade. Woo!
However, a loophole in U.S. federal legislation could allow this terrible practice to proliferate here so we must remain vigilant until it’s gone for good! Start out by signing and sharing these important petitions related to shark conservation, and be sure to educate your family and friends about what’s going on.