UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Palau is banning commercial shark fishing and asking other nations to follow suit, the republic's president said before a Friday United Nation's address.
"These creatures are being slaughtered and are perhaps at the brink of extinction unless we take positive action to protect them," President Johnson Toribiong told the BBC.
Half of the world's oceanic sharks are threatened by extinction, many killed for their fins, used in soup in Asian countries. Toribiong planned to call for a global ban on shark-finning when he addressed the United Nations.
"Not all nations consider shark fins as delicacies. And we feel that the need to protect the sharks outweighs the need to enjoy a bowl of soup," Toribiong told the BBC.
An estimated 130 threatened species of shark swim in the waters of Palau, a nation of just 20,000 people living on 200 islands with territorial waters about the size of France.