The Bahamas created the first shark sanctuary in the Atlantic Ocean in 2011. Over 40 shark species reside in its 630,000 km2 marine area, making it the shark diving capital of the world. Its vibrant waters support one of the world’s major spiny lobster fisheries, as well as the most important remaining Caribbean queen conch and Nassau grouper fisheries, which collectively generate over $63 million annually.
Home to the Atlantic’s First Shark Sanctuary
Nearly 400,000 people live in The Bahamas and shark tourism contributes $100 million per year to the local economy. Unfortunately, illegal fishing seriously threatens the health of these waters.
In 2018, WildAid Marine partnered with The Nature Conservancy and multiple Bahamian government agencies to form a Marine Action Partnership (MAP) for Sustainable Fisheries. Through the MAP, we will create a comprehensive Marine Protection System Plan for The Bahamas’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Bahamas: The Challenge
In The Bahamas, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing often targets vulnerable resources including spiny lobster, conch, reef fish, and sharks, among others. In 2018, WildAid Marine partnered with The Nature Conservancy and multiple Bahamian government agencies to form a Marine Action Partnership (MAP) to address the challenges posed by foreign and domestic IUU fishing in The Bahamas’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Putting Our Model Into Action
We helped our partners reach the Enforcement Design stage by initiating the development of a comprehensive Marine Protection System (MPS) Plan for The Bahamas’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Our MPS Plan assesses the gaps and opportunities for enhancing patrol, surveillance, and investigation techniques and processes in The Bahamas.
In support of the Marine Action Partnership, we are developing recommendations for training law enforcement officers, resource managers, lawyers and more, including dedicated peer-to-peer exchanges and regional workshops.
Through the Marine Action Partnership, we are working in tandem with our partners to identify strategies to ensure long-term, consistent funding for marine resource protection.
The multi-year Marine Action Partnership for Sustainable Fisheries will develop strategies for improving public outreach efforts through effective collaboration and coordination among law enforcement, fishing communities, protected area managers, and other stakeholders.
Our MPS Plan addresses legal loopholes to ensure effective consequences for illegal fishing and environmental infractions.
shark species protected by the Bahamian shark sanctuary.
Marine Protection System Plan developed for The Bahamas’ EEZ.
annual income generated by shark and ray tourism in The Bahamas.