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Sharks could be big business for Roatan

Over 15 sharks swam around us
Over 15 sharks swam around us

Diving with sharks is becoming more popular as an adventure dive. And is being offered as an option on more islands. Sometimes that leads to a clash between the people who depend on diving for their livelihood and those who depend on fishing.

Diving with Caribbean Reef Sharks
Photo by Paul Dobbins

I dove with over 15 Caribbean Reef Sharks last month here in Roatan and it was awe inspiring!

The shark population is getting decimated around the world.  Shark fins are very popular in some nations, for consumption or for use in products. Some sharks are killed for sport and some killed out of fear and ignorance. Project AWARE is leading the charge of banning this practice throughout the world.

We are beginning to realize how important sharks are to our eco-system and some islands are beginning to do something to protect them on a local basis. Honduras is leading the way and is one of only a handful of islands that now has a moratorium of fishing for sharks.

It is hoped that this moratorium could turn into a permanent ban and become a sanctuary for sharks. This would make Honduras only the second nation in the world to protect sharks.  Palau in the South Pacific was the first in the world.

The moratorium on fishing was just passed on January 6th of 2010 and went into effect immediately. The Shark Legacy Project was involved in helping to educate government officials on the important role that sharks play in the future of Honduras.

Peter Wilcox and Giacomo Palavicini from Barefoot Divers in Roatan, Honduras started the Shark Legacy Project. Both are scuba instructors and Giacomo is also a marine biologist. Tourism is an increasingly important segment of the Honduran economy and Roatan is the Number 1 attraction, primarily because of the great scuba diving here.

And the shark dive here at Cara e Cara on the Cordelia Banks is a big draw. The Shark Legacy Project is trying to quantify the economic impact of shark diving here.

The Shark Legacy Project would like to add more education and potentially more species of sharks to make the diving experience an even richer one. They are currently circulating a petition to make the Cordelia Banks area a Shark Sanctuary. It is an important area not only for sharks but also as home to the largest group of endangered Staghorn Coral.  Please sign this petition by clicking on the Cordelia Banks link above.

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  • Pauline Dolinski 5 years ago

    Really great information. I have been swimming with reef sharks, and saw one big one, in French Polynesia. Definitely we should not have shark fin soup, as I saw awful shark fishing in the Pacific for that so-called delicacy.

  • Maggie 5 years ago

    Yes I agree. No one should eat shark fin soup. Good to see the Pacific islands doing something about the practice~! Hope it spreads!

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