Amendments to territorial fishing regulations will ban the export of sharks from Turks and Caicos Islands beginning July 1, 2015.
Many shark species make their homes in waters around the Turks and Caicos Islands. These include silky and lemon sharks, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers Near Threatened with extinction, and thresher sharks, which are listed as Vulnerable.
By regulating the variety and abundance of other marine species in the food web, these local sharks play vital roles in maintaining the health of critical coral reefs. Without them, these beautiful and diverse marine areas risk becoming degraded.
This export ban is a great first step in restoring depleted shark populations to the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands. But there is still work needed to fully safeguard sharks here and across the Caribbean.
Angelo Villagomez of The Pew Charitable Trusts.