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Islands set up shark sanctuary

The British Virgin Islands is setting up a sanctuary for all shark species in its territorial waters.

Deputy premier Kedrick Pickering said the islands recognise that sharks are critical to oceans and reefs.

At today's conference in Belgium, Mr Pickering said "the best way to manage their populations is to let them fulfil their ecological role as apex predators".

Across the globe, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries. Because of their long life spans and low fertility rates, sharks are highly vulnerable to overfishing.

Pew Charitable Trusts says the British Virgin Islands joins Honduras and the Bahamas as the first governments in the Americas to declare shark sanctuaries. The world's first was created in 2009 by the Pacific nation of Palau.

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