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A large female tiger shark circles a group of divers at a popular dive-tourism site in the Bahamas known as Tiger Beach.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia's Fisheries Centre say protecting sharks would lead to a big economic payoff.

A study published Thursday in Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation, says shark fisheries are declining, mostly due to overfishing, but the industry around shark watchers is thriving.

Rashid Sumaila, director of the Fisheries Centre and the study's senior author, says shark tourism is making big gains, and within the next two decades, its economic importance is expected to surpass that of shark fisheries in terms of income.

"Economics and conservation can work together. If you conserve your resources properly, you make them sustainable, you have a chance of actually making money and employing people, and this is really a very clear example of that," he said. [continue]

Here's a video depicting the horrible practice of shark finning:

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