21 Nov 2016

Kiribati sets up shark sanctuary

1:49 pm on 21 November 2016

Photo: 123RF

Kiribati has set up a large shark sanctuary to help protect the species across much of the central Pacific.

Vice-President Kourabi Nenem said at the sanctuary's launch that the nation was committed to protecting sharks from exploitation and overfishing.

Kiribati has banned commercial shark fishing in the sanctuary, which is about the size of India.

Palau established the region's first shark sanctuary in 2009.

The Marshall Islands and Tokelau followed suit in 2011 and a year later French Polynesia and the Cook Islands created adjacent shark sanctuaries spanning almost 4 million square kilometres of ocean.

The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates 100 million sharks are killed each year by commercial fisheries.

It said sharks are vulnerable to overfishing because they are slow to mature and reproduce.