NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Bahamas has banned commercial fishing of sharks, awarding protection to the more than 40 species circling the island chain that touts itself as the shark diving capital of the world.
Activists cheered the new law approved Tuesday. They had demanded more protection for sharks after a local seafood company announced last year that it planned to export shark meat and fins to Hong Kong.
The ban applies to an estimated 243,000 square miles (630,000 square kilometers) of water surrounding the archipelago. It has one of the most diverse and thriving shark populations in the world.
The government also increased shark-fishing fines from $3,000 to $5,000.
The Bahamas attracts $78 million a year in shark-related tourism.