Protecting sharks isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for a country’s bottom line, too.
That’s the finding of a new study by The Cape Eleuthera Institute, which reports that shark and ray tourism brought almost $114 million to the Bahamas as recently as 2014.
And the vast majority of that revenue comes from the shark diving industry, according to the report.
The results, found by Dr. Edd Brooks, are in keeping with other studies that demonstrate the high economic value of sharks.
Some of the results of the study, which was supported by Pew, help underscore that sharks are worth far more alive than dead, which could also catalyze other governments in the region and globally into action to protect these species.
The Bahamas has a long history of protecting its shark populations.
In the early 1990s, the country banned longline fishing–a primary driver of unintentional shark-catching–and in 2011 declared its entire exclusive economic zone a shark sanctuary, thereby ending all commercial shark fishing in Bahamian waters, as well as trade, sale and possession of sharks and shark parts.
Read the full report here.