125px Flag of Palau.svg Tiny island nation creates worlds first shark sanctuaryThe world’s first shark sanctuary will be created by Palau, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The sanctuary will measure 240,000 square miles and be a haven for vulnerable shark species like Leopard shark, Hammerhead, and Oceanic Whitetip. Over 135 different species of shark and ray is known to live in this biological hotspot.

Palau will declare its territorial waters and extended economic zone to be the first officially recognized sanctuary for sharks,” said Palauan President Johnson Toribiong.

Unfortunately, this tiny nation with a population of 20,000 people has only one patrol boat to protect the immense sanctuary from fishermen.

While acknowledging the difficulties, the president still hopes that others will respect Palauan territorial waters – and that the shark haven will inspire more such conservation efforts globally.

We’ll do the very best we can, given our resources,” he said. “The purpose of this is to call attention to the world to the killing of sharks for commercial purposes, including to get the fins to make shark fin soups, and then they throw the bodies in the water.”

Toribiong said a recent flyover by Australian aircraft showed more than 70 vessels fishing in Palau waters, many of them illegally.