Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ilaitia Turagabeci Fiji Pro-Shark Media Hits?

When you have been around the shark media landscape as long as I have you get a tad - jaded.

Basically the world of shark media can be distilled down to a few fundamental attributes coming out of well worn media playbooks.

That's why when I see shark attack headlines I rarely post about them anymore, ditto goes for the breathless and somewhat myopic attempts by a few well known conservationists to re-brand sharks into cuddly plush toys.

So when I read last weeks news coming out of Fiji I was stopped cold because this is how you do shark media, and where has the writer Ilaitia Turagabeci been for the past six years?

Ilaitia covers the world of sharks from the commercial shark diving space and there's plenty to write about when it comes to Fiji. In case you have missed it we have been huge fans of at least one operation in Fiji and very impressed with the quiet efforts by power players in the region to radically change the world of Fijian sharks for the better.

While some look at commercial shark diving as a liability, clutching to outdated 1970's views towards sharks and shark behaviors, a revolution has been happening in our world.

As it turns out lots of people want to see sharks, safely.

Thanks to a few industry leaders over the past decade the desires of a few have morphed into a global multi-million dollar dive segment and growing. One that has adopted conservation and one that is now seeing acceptance globally.

But the stats coming from Fiji tell an all too familiar black and white tale:

Ministry of Fisheries and Forests statistics show that earnings from shark fin exports from Fiji to the world's shark fin capital Hong Kong pale in comparison to earnings from the shark-diving industry in Fiji. 

The annual income from shark's fin trading averages $F8million while income generated by the shark-diving industry is at $US42million ($F75million), according to the recently-released study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

But while the export price of shark's fin has increased, from $HK377.12 ($F89.57) per kilo in 2001 to $HK678.30 ($F161) in 2011, and the shark-diving industry continues to reap bigger rewards with the growing popularity of Fiji to the world, the sharks are getting smaller and disappearing from some areas.

Read Big Bite this week by Ilaitia Turagabeci and immerse yourself in the facts and figures of our industry along with some great regional quotes and some hope for sharks on the horizon.

Being jaded does not necessarily mean that I have stopped being impressed by those who are tackling our industry and conservation in methodical ways to distill out the essence of what this very complicated global movement is all about.


Patric Douglas CEO

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

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