3 Aug 2011

Micronesia shark sanctuary could hit long line fishing hard

9:54 pm on 3 August 2011

The Executive Director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission says a proposal to create the world's largest shark sanctuary could have major repercussions on long line fishing in the region.

Last month's Micronesian summit in Pohnpei revealed plans for a regional sanctuary covering over three million square kilometres in which shark fishing would be prohibited.

Palau has already established a shark sanctuary but the Commission's Professor Glen Hurry says the proposed much larger protected area will challenge long line fishing on two fronts.

"It's probably difficult to fish away from sharks when you are fishing for long line catch of big eye and yellowfin tuna. And the second part of it is probably profitability because there is a market for sharks. And I suspect that the long line companies will look at their economics of fishing."

The Tuna Commission's Glen Hurry.

Included in the summit's resolution is the development of a regional ban on the possession, sale and trade of shark fins.