It’s not easy to find sharks these days. Just ask Demian Chapman, a marine scientist who leads Global FinPrint, a project that assesses shark populations on reefs worldwide. But he says there is a spot where they’re often found: the Maldives, a tiny nation of islands speckled in the Indian Ocean. “The Maldives is a place where we drop cameras, and we see sharks frequently, which really is very unusual,” Chapman told Mongabay in an interview. “You know, most places we drop cameras and see nothing [or] one shark or two sharks, but then the Maldives is pretty consistent.” Sharks are plentiful in the Maldives thanks to a 90,000-square-kilometer (34,750-square-mile) shark sanctuary — that’s about three times as big as Belgium — set up in 2010 with a blanket ban on shark fishing and finning. But conservationists say these advances are now under threat as the Maldivian government considers lifting its 11-year shark-fishing ban. Grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) at the Ari Atoll in the Maldives. Image by Guy Stevens / Manta Trust. In a parliamentary committee discussion in late March, fisheries minister Zaha Waheed said talks were underway to open a managed shark fishery, which would help boost the economy. Shaha Hashim, chairperson of Maldives Resilient Reefs and project manager for the Blue Marine Foundation, said lifting the ban would have “devastating consequences” for local shark populations. “[Sharks] are easy to overfish due to their biological nature,” Hashim told Mongabay in an email. “[They’re] long-lived, late to mature, [and have] long gestational…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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