10-year ban on shark fishing in parts of  Maldives islands was distributed over the entire island group.

This moratorium was adopted in 1998 regarding seven atolls and now with its extension 12 nautical miles from Maldives are covered.

Maldives Government has taken a step in the face of evidence that shark populations in the region were under threat from fishing practices.

Nasir Abdullah, Fisheries Ministry permanent secretary, said: “The Fisheries Act clearly tells us that we can protect marine species, if we believe that there are threatened or endangered sorts for any reason.”

Maldives attractes diving tourists by its reputation of healthy population of sharks, including hammerheads.

Recognizing that shark groups “are very important for tourism,” Nasir added that his ministry “is working on” establishing a moratorium on permanent basis in the law to ban shark fishing and the export of shark products in the next year.

Environmental organizations welcomed the move – but warned that the process should be monitored.

Maldives reef ecologist Marie Saleem, welcoming the statement by the Government, said that the reef shark populations will require careful assessment to determine the effect of the ban.

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