Wonderful news from the Bahamas today; in response to a shark ban petition sent out by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) that collected 5,000 signatures, the Bahamian government has chosen to support regulations protecting sharks in their waters. "The government has agreed to amend the fisheries legislation to prohibit the export of sharks from The Bahamas as a result of the petition and advocacy of the Bahamas National Trust,” Environment Minister Earl Deveaux announced yesterday.
Trust representatives visited different islands within the Bahamas in an effort to collect signatures of locals who supported an increase in protection. During the BNT's visit to Cat Island owners of Epic Diving, Vincent and Debra Canabal, who run a dive operation that offers shark diving trips in the waters off Cat Island worked closely with Bahamas National Trust Education Officer, Shelley Cant to raise awareness throughout the local community. "It was an honor for Epic Diving to work with the Bahamas National Trust. We gathered as many Cat Islanders as we could to a town meeting to sign the Protect The Sharks of the Bahamas petition. We had a great turnout and many of the locals were eager to learn more about sharks. Many people had questions about how important sharks are not only to the marine ecosystem, but also the economic impact of their removal. We collected a ton of signatures that were turned into Parliament in support of legislation that would ban the sale and exportation of any shark or shark product within the Commonwealth of the Bahamas," Debra Canabal shared in a recent posting on their website.
This is a huge victory for Bahamian sharks and a wonderful step in the right direction for stronger protection of sharks worldwide. Big kudos to the Bahamas National Trust, the organizations and companies that supported this action, as well as the 5,000 people of the Bahamas who decided to get involved and signed the petition.
Images below from the town meeting held the first week of June on Cat Island to collect signatures for the Protect The Sharks of the Bahamas petition courtesy Epic Diving.