Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fiji Sharks - Cause for Celebration!

Fiji is set to put in place a landmark fisheries policy to ban all shark finning in the country and address the alarming decline of sharks.

Department of Fisheries and Forests permanent secretary Commander Viliame Naupoto says the ban would be similar to laws that currently protect turtles.

The proposed new law would ban the trade of all shark fins and other products derived from any type of shark that is captured in Fiji waters.

The ban only affects trade and does not stop villagers from consuming shark meat.

However shark meat is not a regular diet for Fijians in villagers – although it is available in Fish and Chips shops in urban centres.

Sharks are also held sacred as the totem animals or Vu of the people of Cakaudrove and other islands.

Commander Naupoto says sharks play a critical role within the marine ecosystem by controlling the population of certain marine species.

He adds the emerging market in shark tourism has huge potential as an economic exchange earner and as employment for locals – and sharks are more valuable alive than dead.

Beqa Adventure Divers director and shark conservationist Mike Neumann highlighted that Beqa Adventure Divers generated about $3million in direct and indirect revenue that were all invested in Fiji.

Fiji will be the first Melanesian country to approve such a law.

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