Illustrating their commitment to protecting the precious marine environment of the Maldives, the government there has slapped a ban on hunting reef sharks.
In part to protect the atoll nation’s fragile ecology, the ban also seeks to attract the lucrative and sustainable income represented by the dive tourism market. The government said that the ban will restore the shark populations, help maintain the environment and will help the tourism industry.
There are large numbers of sharks around the country’s 1,192 coral islands and this ban will prevent them being fished in shallow waters.
Sharks are sought after by divers and snorkelers who understand that they are not the vicious killers often depicted by the media. The Maldives is also renowned for prolific numbers of manta rays, turtles and exotic fish, all of which contribute to the Maldives reputation as a top diving destination.
This action by the Maldives government is in stark contrast to a recent controversy surrounding shark finning near the world renowned Sipadan in Sabah, Malaysia.
Following an outcry from the diving community and threats to boycott that destination, the authorities there were hesitant to ban the practice outright, favouring researching the sustainability of shark finning instead.
The Maldives does not have a local market for shark meat and fins, exporting it mostly to East Asia. Malaysia, on the other hand, is a consumer of shark meat and fins in addition to exporting it to similar markets.
The hope is that this progressive move by the Maldives government will be echoed by similar diving destinations world wide. Not only is it a blow to the destructive finning trade, but it’s a loud voice for the recognition of sharks being more lucrative as living attractions.
To experience the prolific shark and marine habitat of the Maldives for yourself, book your Maldives liveaboard diving safari today. Call Dive The World on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or you could send us an email.