Shark and ray sanctuary in the British Virgin Islands

Delighted the British Virgin Islands has established a permanent shark and ray sanctuary. This is a big step forward for conservation in the region and can be a catalyst for further protection of these beautiful species.

Image from Shawn Heinrichs

This idea came out of a conference on Necker Island last year, where we put forward a proposal that the British Virgin Islands and other countries and territories in the region signed up to. This will help protect species whose numbers have been falling drastically around the world, and I look forward to seeing the other nations put the agreement into action too.

Nevertheless, there is still much to be done. One-quarter of the world's sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, with around 100 million sharks killed each year in commercial fisheries to satisfy demand for shark fin soup. However, the BVI has shown leadership here and I urge other countries to follow suit.

Earlier this year, we joined the University of Miami's Dunlap Marine Conservation Program on a scientific expedition to learn more about sharks in the British Virgin Islands. We tagged a Caribbean Reef Shark our social media followers named Huckleberry Finn – now Huck will be protected along with all the other sharks in the BVI!

Many people often have a misguided perception of sharks and rays as creatures to fear rather than celebrate. With that in mind, here is another wonderful National Geographic video of mobula rays jumping for joy off the coast of Baja. They certainly have that Friday feeling! Hope you do too, and have a wonderful weekend.

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