Venezuela has banned shark finning in its waters this week, making it the last country in the Americas to outlaw the practice, which involves cutting the fins off of a live animal and tossing its carcass back into the ocean to slowly die.
Lemon sharks are now protected by the shark fishing ban implemented in the Los Roques Archipelago off of Venezuela.
A marine paradise in the Caribbean Sea, Los Roques offers a wealth of natural resources.
The sanctuary consists of 854 square miles (2,211 square kilometers) of the Caribbean Sea surrounding the Los Roques Archipelago.
Sharks are highly susceptible to overfishing because they are long-lived, reproduce infrequently and have few offspring when they do. Scientists estimate that up to 73 million are killed annually for their fins, primarily due to increased demand for shark fin soup, particular in China and southeast Asia.
Researcher Rafael Tavares on a research trip, preparing to tag a juvenile lemon shark in the lagoons of Los Roques.