|Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) - courtesy Eric Chen, Wetpixel|
However, there are now many shark reserves in the Pacific and Indian island countries, as well as a very recent one in The Bahamas. Studying Reef Shark population changes over the period from 1980 to 2011, there has been a marked increase in shark population. China has just recently banned shark fin soup at official functions, marking (hopefully) a new direction in which shark fin is viewed. Ensuring shark survival is not just some Romantic crusade to preserve a set of amazing creatures, increased shark diversity and density has a direct correlation to increased coral reef biodiversity and biomass, as sharks prey on weakened fish or fish whose populations have grown too high. Kingman Reef, a US dependency and one of the last truly pristine reefs in the world, has a predator biomass of 85%, 3/4 of which are sharks (from an old NG article, highly recommend reading). They are some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring inhabitants of the sea, and they deserve our protection. We can't live without them, but they would chug along just fine thank you very much should human disappear tomorrow.