Sharks have a key position in the ocean food chain and their removal could have far-reaching implications beyond the species themselves. Yet since the 1980s the harvesting of sharks, primarily for their fins, and their extraction as bycatch have resulted in a rapid decline in numbers. It is against this backdrop that the Pacific is leading the way in legal developments for shark conservation: from the US shark conservation law, and finning bans in Hawai’i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, to the declaration of Palau’s shark sanctuary. These national initiatives have been complemented by regional action, including the adoption of a Regional Plan of Action for sharks by the Pacific nations. This article examines the legal developments and the emerging leadership role the region is taking. The lessons that they offer are explored, as well as some of the remaining challenges.
|Journal||The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|