Sharks are in trouble globally, and there are few locations where healthy shark populations still exist. In The Bahamas, a 20-year-old ban on longline fishing gear has left its waters as one of the few places in the world with relatively healthy shark populations.
This has paid off for the small island nation. According to The Bahamas Diving Association, shark-related tourism has contributed up to $800 million to the Bahamian economy. There are, however, no laws there that specifically protect sharks.
Pew is currently working with The Bahamas National Trust to gain permanent protections in all of the Bahamas' Exclusive Economic Zone, an area encompassing approximately 630,000 square kilometers of ocean. By establishing comprehensive protections for these animals, not only will sharks be permanently safeguarded against other threats, but the health of the marine environment and the economy of the Bahamas will be conserved for generations to come.
These public service announcements were produced by The Bahamas National Trust (BNT), in collaboration with the Pew Environment Group, in support of a grassroots petition to protect sharks in Bahamian waters.
Shark populations enrich ecosystem, economy in the Bahamas
In this first video, experts illustrate the importance of healthy shark populations to the Bahamas, known as the shark diving capital of the world.
'Protect our sharks,' say Bahamas' children
Here, Bahamian children and a representative from The Bahamas National Trust spell out just how valuable sharks are to the local economy.
Children urge greater shark protections in the Bahamas
In this public service announcement, other Bahamian children explain why sharks are so vulnerable to overfishing in their plea for stronger protections for the apex predators.
We are urging the government of The Bahamas to establish a shark sanctuary in its national waters. It would be the first such refuge in the Atlantic Ocean and would protect one of the richest resources in the world's oceans.