The sanctuary lies in a coastal basin formed by post-Ice Age meltwater from Mt Kilimanjaro and the Usambara mountains, with its deep channels giving it thermal stability. It provides a refuge for threatened sharks and rays, spinner dolphins and dugongs among many other species.
“If protected, this region has the capacity to continue to provide immense value as a global tourism destination, a hotspot for biodiversity, and a critical source of sustainably derived food and cultural heritage for generations to come,” says WCS. The study has just been published in Advances in Marine Biology.
***** PACIFIC DIVING HOTSPOT and marine-conservation pioneer Palau in Micronesia has detained the 28 crew of a Chinese fishing-boat accused of illegal harvesting of sea cucumber in its waters.
Palau is a political ally of Taiwan, China’s rival in the region, and the action marks the first time a Chinese vessel has been intercepted and detained in Palau’s territorial waters.
The vessel was intercepted by a Palauan patrol boat at Helen Reef and 225kg of sea cucumbers, worth up to £180,000, were found on board. The catch is a delicacy in China, which appears to be depleting its home waters and venturing ever-further into the Pacific to fish.
The boat was escorted to the main island of Koror, where the fishermen as well as the patrol-boat crew are undergoing 14 days’ quarantine. Palau has remained Covid-free to date. A decision was pending on bringing charges.