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BNT Receives Global Recognition for Shark Conservation
By Bahamas National Trust (BNT)
Mar 25, 2015 - 3:23:17 PM

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“This trip to Eleuthera ties in with a recent trip to Bimini where the BNT met with Richard Branson (top left), founder of Virgin Group, José Maria Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, and Pew who announced their efforts to conserve and protect sharks in the Caribbean,” said Carey. “The impact that the Trust is having is inspiring, and we hope to see more and more shark sanctuaries in the future.” (BNT Photos)

Eleuthera, Bahamas – The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was one of the first groups to advocate for the protection of sharks in The Bahamas and Caribbean. The BNT was invited by the Pew Environment group in 2010 to partner with them to protect sharks in The Bahamas from commercial exploitation.

When Pew first came to the BNT, they had successfully created shark sanctuaries In the Maldives and Palau. The BNT already had a history for protecting sharks, as the BNT along with other NGO’s had lobbied against long line fishing in 1994, which resulted in the prohibition of this fishing practice in The Bahamas.

The Bahamas Campaign which featured visits by celebrity shark advocates Guy Harvey, marine artist and cartoonist, Jim Toomey as well as television PSA’s and visits to schools and communities resulted in the government of the Bahamas signing a law to ban commercial shark fishing on July 5, 2011. This new fisheries regulation made The Bahamas the first shark sanctuary in the region.

BNT Executive Director Eric Carey, was invited by His Excellency Ellistion Rahming, Bahamas Ambassdor to the UN, to a shark workshop held recently at the Cape Eleuthera Institute along with Montel Williams, American television personality and shark enthusiast and a delegation of United Nations (UN) Ambassadors. The BNT was recognised for their proactive work in protecting sharks in the Bahamas and by extension, the Caribbean.

“For the past 20 years, the BNT has been a leader in shark conservation,” said BNT Executive Director, Carey. “Starting with the war on long-line fishing and succeeding in having a petition signed to encourage the government to protect these amazing creatures.”

“We have saved the sharks as well as protected a $70 million dollar business for our countrymen. It was a great feeling to be recognized for these efforts and to share the success of our shark conservation programmes with the UN Ambassadors.”

UN Ambassadors from ten countries descended on Eleuthera to learn about The Bahamas’ shark sanctuary, which was officially established four years ago, and to get lessons from leading research scientists on new discoveries when it comes to sharks.

The BNT is incredibly proud that other countries want to follow The Bahamas’ lead, as it’s important that other Caribbean countries protect their sharks and create their own shark sanctuaries. The United Nations Shark Sanctuary Coalition learned about the behaviour and life cycle patterns of deep-ocean sharks, bull sharks, reef sharks, and stingrays and the effects of long-line fishing and how the shark conservation research at Cape Eleuthera Institute will affect policy making.

The UN Ambassadors representing Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Suriname and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all have accepted the charge to help protect sharks in their oceans after their visit.

“This trip to Eleuthera ties in with a recent trip to Bimini where the BNT met with Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, José Maria Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, and Pew who announced their efforts to conserve and protect sharks in the Caribbean,” said Carey. “The impact that the Trust is having is inspiring, and we hope to see more and more shark sanctuaries in the future.”


The Bahamas National Trust was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of the Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility the TRUST, as it is commonly known works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas, through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 27 National Parks managed by the TRUST with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.

Website: http://www.bnt.bs/

 

 


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