Sharks won a new friend when Guam, a US island territory in the Pacific, voted to ban commerce in fins, a leading environmental group said.

Guam’s Senate passed a bill banning the sale, possession and distribution of the fins, which are in high demand for Asian shark fin soup, Pew Environmental Group said.

The measure extended a trend across the Pacific to shield the endangered predators from unsustainable fishing practices.

Palau, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Honduras and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, have passed similar protection measures.

“More and more, we see the islands of the Pacific stand tall against commercial fishing fleets that are depleting shark popul-ations,” said Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for Pew.

“Pacific island leadership is helping these fish, threatened by the fin trade, to keep their place as apex predators in the ocean food chain. Guam, a major fishing hub, now joins other Pacific Ocean voices in support of shark conservation.”

According to Pew, as many as 73 million sharks are killed annually, primarily for their fins.

Thirty per cent of shark species are threatened or near-threatened with extinction, Pew says.

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