And talking of different Shark Sanctuaries.
Whereas yours truly has always supported them as stop-gap measures, my pal Patric has always been a staunch, and vocal skeptic of the effectiveness of Shark Sanctuaries; and I must congratulate him for having made the personal effort and come up with clear evidence for poaching in the Marshalls and beyond.
But is the system broken like he asserts?
Dunno - and neither does he!
As always, it's a matter of nuance.
Shark poaching does not automatically invalidate a Sanctuary.
The way I see it, the aim of the Sanctuary legislation is not Shark preservation but Shark conservation - and where I'm coming from, conservation does not consist in preserving every last individual but instead, aims at preserving populations, or species.
And this I believe is being achieved by keeping mortality below sustainable levels.
Granted, others may differ - but that's how I see it.
And when it comes to the Marshalls and for the matter, to most if not all of those Sanctuaries, we simply do not have the hard data to make a final judgement about their effectiveness as conservation tools.
But of course we can make educated guesses.
Looking at the list by Pew, I suspect that French Polynesia and New Caledonia "work" because of strong French monitoring and enforcement; and the Bahamas and some other Caribbean ones may benefit from the economic importance of Shark tourism and the fact that there was never a noticeable commercial Shark fishery there in the first place. The others are certainly a mixed bag, from likely suspect in Honduras, the Cooks, Western Samoa and possibly even the Maldives, to "difficult" in Micronesia where the Marshals and Palau are probably the "best" and the FSM with its shredded Mantas the worst.
But again, this is merely guesswork - and one would really hope that Pew will one day step up and provide some scientific evidence for what has been successful, and what has not, as they should!
Long story short?
Despite of the preferences of the professional Shark people, this is the real world where in many developing countries, western-style science-based fisheries management will remain wishful thinking for a very long time indeed; and there, Shark Sanctuaries may be one viable quick-fix solution, this very much in line with the precautionary principle. Yes there are certainly other strategic approaches - but from what I can discern, they will once again take a lot of time to fully implement.
I ask, do we really have that time?
And if the answer is, probably not, should we maybe consider abandoning the current entrenched ideological positions in favor of practical solutions = short term prohibition that can later be eased in favor of management?
Aren't we ultimately all working towards the same goal = shouldn't the tribalism, money and recognition only be of secondary importance?