Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fiji Study - Fiji Template

We have said in the past and for the sake of saying it again, kudos!

Fiji's Beqa Adventure Divers have once again shown the rest of the commercial shark world how to sustainably manage their sharks with ongoing research.

While other sharks sites worldwide such as Playa del Carmen struggle with commercial shark fishing interests, because they did not take the time to roll out an embedded and highly visible research component with their diving programs, Fiji has created a global template - and they are willing to share it.

That's not to say all's lost elsewhere, but the fact remains that too few sites hedge against commercial disasters and embrace ongoing shark research. It works, and we are bound by more than commercial gain to adopt the time and funding necessary to make it happen at our own shark sites.

This morning Da Shark revealed his teams ongoing Bull shark project:

Seasonal and Long-Term Changes in Relative Abundance of Bull Sharks from a Tourist Shark Feeding Site in Fiji

Juerg M. Brunnschweiler, Harald Baensch

ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska, United States of America

Shark tourism has become increasingly popular, but remains controversial because of major concerns originating from the need of tour operators to use bait or chum to reliably attract sharks. We used direct underwater sampling to document changes in bull shark Carcharhinus leucas relative abundance at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, a shark feeding site in Fiji, and the reproductive cycle of the species in Fijian waters. Between 2003 and 2009, the total number of C. leucas counted on each day ranged from 0 to 40. Whereas the number of C. leucas counted at the feeding site increased over the years, shark numbers decreased over the course of a calendar year with fewest animals counted in November. Externally visible reproductive status information indicates that the species' seasonal departure from the feeding site may be related to reproductive activity.

Complete study here.