|Six foot female white shark 2010, Ensenada|
But have we reached the Second Act of this shark conservation push?
As Mexico announced a full court ban on shark fishing in their waters in 2012, jumping on the bandwagon in the Latin America behind Honduras, how will they and other nations enforce this ban?
We have seen first hand how hard it is for Mexico to address even basic fisheries policy with white sharks, declared off limits in 2007 in a move that was heralded by shark conservation.
The reality on the ground has been very different for these magnificent animals and other shark species in the region.
As late as August 2011 we have continued to document one small fish market in Ensenada, Mexico where white sharks are still being caught and sold, sometimes as many as six in a day, sold as swordfish and marlin for as little as 50 pesos a kilo.
We began this investigation eight years ago, alerting other commercial shark diving companies and conservation groups in the region with a series of ongoing and well documented blog posts.
|Three foot white shark pup sold as Marlin, Ensenada 2008|
These sharks are the by-product of local inshore tuna and sword fisheries. To comply with white shark bans local Mexican fishermen have three choices:
1. Stop fishing
2. Modify long line fisheries
3. Dump dead white sharks overboard
SINO's are the looming Act Two for shark conservation. Getting a politician to make promises for the environment is a time honored tradition. Getting that same politician or his or her successor to follow through with hard and fast enforcement is where the rubber meets the road.
That rubber will cost millions of dollars to the shark conservation movement who have managed thus far to get Sanctuaries declared at a pace that has been stunning to watch. It has also been a relatively cheap affair, conservation light, with dollars spent verses sanctuary acres created part of the ongoing equation.
Where enforcement monies, infrastructure, and boots on the ground will come from for these newly created sanctuaries anyone knows.
Before another country declares a Sanctuary for Sharks we should be looking at how we are going to manage the millions of remote acres we already have locked away in countries that have a long track record of SINO.
It's where we have to focus in the next decade and it all starts with dollars and a plan.