The whale shark is one of three sharks protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species law (CITES). The other two sharks are the Great White Shark and the Basking Shark. 175 countries are contractually bound by the provisions of CITES. The legislation has been difficult to enforce, though, because many legislators internationally do not recognize how important sharks are for healthy reefs and marine ecosystems, and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one 0.8 percent of the world’s ocean, which makes enforcement of any law protecting marine species very challenging.
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