Top 10 Shark Conservation Projects

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Shark Myths
by: Josh Clark
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Converting Economic Zones to Conservation Areas
DCI | Digital Vision/Getty Images

Every sovereign nation is entitled to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical-mile buffer from its coastline or that of its nearest coastal neighbor if the country is landlocked. Most nations in the world use their EEZs for their economic benefit, like removing minerals and fossil fuels, and, most of all, giving their nation's commercial fishing fleets a place to fish.

Some countries are bucking the trend, however, and using their EEZs instead to protect sharks by banning commercial fishing in these areas and turning them into de facto shark sanctuaries. The island nation of Palau has long ardently defended the sharks that inhabit the waters around its 200 islands. In 2009, President Johnson Toribiong announced plans to create a sanctuary out of all of the waters of the nation's EEZ.

Palau banned all commercial shark fishing within its EEZ. Since the islands are so spread out, the buffer around the archipelago nation now provides 230,000 square miles (595,697 square kilometers) of sanctuary to sharks. In 2010, the Maldives followed suit and created a sanctuary out of their EEZ, providing sharks with another 35,000 square miles (90,000 square kilometers) of protected space.

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