Cuba has launched a long term initiative to monitor and protect shark populations around its shores, a move that comes after two years of collaboration with the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund.
Scientists believe that nearly 20 percent of the world’s 500 shark species swim in the waters around Cuba. But the lack of economic development has spared many of its coral reefs and its well preserved marine environment is a popular destination for divers. And shark populations worldwide are in sharp decline, due to overfishing.
Now Cuba has become the first Caribbean island to develop a shark protection plan.
“Sharks are really important for three reasons. One, they are critically important for the health of coral reef ecosystems, healthy shark populations, healthy corals. Two, they are important for tourism. People come from all over the world to dive with Cuban sharks,” Dan Whittle of the Environmental Defense Fund said.
“And number three, they are important for the economy. Cuban fishermen depend upon sharks. So if you recover sharks they are good for jobs, they are good for biodiversity and they are good for tourism.”
CCTV’s Michael Voss has more.