On Tuesday, the Bahamas announced a ban on shark fishing in the nation's 243,244 square miles of territorial waters. The move is partly motivated by tourism: The island is rich in tiger and hammerhead sharks, and has become a hot spot for diving and shark viewing. The Bahamas is the latest in a series of nations to ban shark fishing, following the lead of Honduras last week, Maldives in 2010, and Palau, Micronesia in 2009. Worldwide, there are now 926,645 square miles of shark sanctuary. Shark fishing bans are also under consideration in several U.S. cities and states, including New Jersey and Orange Beach City, Florida. The practice of shark finning—in which sharks are caught, stripped of their fins, and dumped back in the ocean to die—is already prohibited in U.S. waters, but shark fishers can still take fins provided the rest of the carcass is used. Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have enacted laws prohibiting the removal of fins, and the California State Senate is debating a similar measure.
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