Changing Planet

Honduran President Burns Shark Fins, Reinforces Marine Sanctuary

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the ban on shark fishing in the Honduran Caribbean, enacted on June 24, 2011.  In a dramatic demonstration, Lobo Sosa personally put the torch to 144 pounds of illegally harvested shark fins recently confiscated in Laguna Brus, in Western Honduras.  A pungent smoke filled the air during the press conference that followed.

“It is really strong to show the people that we are burning something that has value,” said Maximiliano Bello, Senior Advisor for Global Shark Conservation to the Pew Environment Group.  “But we needed to do that because there is still some illegal fishing going on, and it’s important to show people that fishing sharks is illegal.”

With its declaration of making the nation’s entire maritime waters a shark sanctuary, Honduras provides legal protection to sharks from fishing and prohibits trade in their parts or derivatives. This is an important step to conserving these apex ocean predators.  Implementing management strategies for sharks that help reduce their by-catch by other fisheries, limits illegal trade and identifies ways to expand their conservation to neighboring countries is essential to their survival.

The Center for Marine Ecology, based in Tegucigalpa, is working with local fishing communities and government officials to implement sustainable fishing practices that help ensure the long-term health of the marine ecosystems of Honduras.  “We want to reorient these fishermen, so they can take advantage of the resources that are abundant, said Dr. Steve Box, Executive Director of the Center for Marine Ecology. “This needs to be done in a sustainable way, so they don’t need to catch sharks. We need sharks in the ocean.”

The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP):

iLCP enlists the skills and expertise of some of the best conservation photographers in the world to advance conservation efforts around the world.  iLCP is currently working with the Honduran-based Center for Marine Ecology to capture—in both images and video—the story of innovative community-driven efforts to conserve marine biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods in the Honduran Mesoamerican Reef region.

The mission of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. iLCP is a Fellowship of more than 100 photographers from all around the globe. As a project based organization, iLCP coordinates Conservation Photography Expeditions to get world-renowned photographers in the field teamed with scientists, writers, videographers and conservation groups to gather visual assets that are used to create conservation communications campaigns to foment conservation successes. iLCP is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Support our work at this link.
  • Rich

    Thank goodness some one in power gets this! We need more countries to follow suit and we need to put pressure on the Chinese to stop their desire of this as a food source. After all this is not an addiction it is a luxury.
    We need to apply pressure to the Japanese to stop whaling. Every time one of these animals is needlessly removed from the sea it does damage to our oceans. More than people realize!

  • Mark Garbutt

    This is a start ,the fines should be so high that it makes it not profitable . The boats should be sold off , and crew imprisoned . This has to be a world wide action .

  • LNorman

    Thank you President Sosa! Now everyone else in the world who cares about biodiversity and the earth, stand up and grow a set!

  • harry balzak

    No!!! shark fins taste sooooo good! what a waste!

  • Alina Papazoros

    I’m glad there are kind souls still out there in this mixed up world. I have such a new found respect for the Honduran president. This is something that should be world wide. Sharks are so important to our ecosytem and are such a beautiful creature. They should not be farmed like vegetables. This animal is not renewable and one they are gone, they’re gone for good. This a great deminstration.

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