(SHARK CONSERVATION) Though sharks are known for scaring tourists and attacking surfers, worldwide efforts are being made to save them. People are a threat to sharks; every year, fishing and finning cause more than 70 million shark deaths. President Obama has already signed a bill limiting shark fishing, and Mexico is planning to implement a ban next year. Read on for more regarding shark conservation laws and what other countries are leading the charge. — Global Animal
The endangered ocean whitetip shark. Photo Credit: Brian Kerry

New York Times

“Jaws,” an ode to humans’ fear of the sea, is still a cultural icon. Yet, slowly but surely, cultural attitudes toward sharks are changing, and changing thanks to a genuinely ecological view of their role in the ocean.

The truth is that humans are far more dangerous to sharks than they are to us. More than 70 million die each year, killed for their fins, which end up in soup. At that rate, nearly a third of all shark species may soon be threatened with extinction. The loss of those predators would have an enormous effect all the way down the marine food chain.

One country at a time, there are growing restrictions on finning — cutting the fin off a shark and leaving it to die — and, increasingly, shark fishing. Last month, Mexico announced that it would ban shark and stingray fishing beginning next year. This would affect Mexico’s exclusive fishing zones in the Pacific Ocean and in the Gulf of Mexico. Several island nations — Micronesia, the Maldives, Palau, and the Marshall Islands — have already created shark sanctuaries. There is hope that Honduras and Colombia will follow suit, perhaps creating a protective corridor reaching to the Galapagos Islands.

The United States has not banned shark fishing, but it has banned finning since 2000 and, in January, President Obama signed a law requiring that sharks be brought to port intact, with their fins in place. Several states, including California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, have also banned the sale of shark fins. These are welcome steps toward keeping the ocean in balance by leaving its top predator in place. Other countries cannot control the growing passion for shark-fin soup in newly affluent China and East Asia. But they can deny them the raw material.

More New York Times News: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/opinion/a-growing-movement-to-save-sharks.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss