Nine governments across Micronesia gathered from April sixth to seventh, 2016 at Palikir. The workshop was conducted to discuss about ways to implement effective enforcement of the Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary and also to discuss about larger fisheries management challenges such as illegal unprotected and unregulated vessels.
The workshop was organized by the government of the Federated States of Micronesia with the help from the Micronesia Conservation Trust and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Participants included Pacific island jurisdictions of Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and its four States of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
It is important to note that Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary was completed in 2015, covering an area of 6.5 square kilometers, prohibiting the commercial fishing for sharks,retention of sharks caught as bycatch, and trade, possession, and sale of shark products.
Taking these kind of threats to account, Regional Shark Sanctuary was built to ensure meaningful protections for these species.
According to Vice President Yosiwo George, it is very important to take shark protection measures and actively use them in order to protect these species. “This workshop is a momentous step to doing just that and illustrates the Pacific’s understanding of the importance of this Regional Sanctuary to its marine ecosystem and the lives of those relying on these resources” he said.
It is now an evident factor that sharks are worth more alive than dead. This is specially true to Palau’s waters, with one reef shark contributing US $ 1.9 million over its lifetime compared to a one-time value of $108 if sold at the market.
Moreover, Tony De Brum, Ambassador of Climate Change for the Republic of the Marshall Islands stated that this endeavour will become a major achievement if Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary are able to harmonize their enforcement efforts and make these shark protections a reality.
“Given the importance of sharks to the Pacific ecologically, economically, and culturally, the ability for these governments to work together to develop solutions to enforce the shark sanctuary on a regional scale is a significant step toward ensuring these species survival,” said Jen Sawada, officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts.