Friday, January 16, 2009

International Year of the Shark - Fiji

It only takes "One".

Actually, they were two, Alex and Ila, and thanks to their wonderful initiative, 2009 has been declared the International Year of the Shark.

Ever since having become a Member, we've been working on a concept enabling us to create a positive buzz for Sharks all across Fiji. We are lucky insofar that Shark Conservation ties in beautifully with Fijian Culture as for many indigenous Fijians, Sharks are sacred and killing them is Taboo. As an example, many of our feeders hail from Beqa Island and are thus protected by the Shark God Dakuwaqa.

We call it the Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project and it hinges on a Shark Awareness Presentation that we are currently rolling out to the participating Dive Shops.
As you can see, the presentation is kind of "open-ended", allowing for a short 15-20 minute overview or instead, for a fully fledged and much more detailed lecture in Shark Biology and Shark Conservation.
Giving the short presentation to clients is merely a minimum requirement for participation and we are sure that the individual Dive Shops will find ample ways to expand on the concept and develop other Shark-related initiatives of their own.

At the same time, we plan to reach out to the schools via the Fiji Ministry of Education.

This is obviously very much work in progress but after having secured the support of two key Government Departments, Fisheries and Environment, and of several Dive Shops that have agreed to act as Regional Representatives, we're ready to go!
Official Start: today January 19!

Matava has very generously set up a great website and we've run this very first little local marketing brochure (click for details) in order to get things started.

The next phase will be a drive for membership and as the different categories (Dive Shops, Resorts, NGOs etc) get populated, we anticipate many more events and initiatives.
On our side, we have already secured several guest lecturers and are working on several Fiji-wide initiatives aimed at mobilizing and educating the public at large.
Watch this space!

Feedback so far has been overwhelming and although this is very much in its initial stages, we are very confident that 2009 will be a good year for Shark Conservation in Fiji!

To all involved: Vinaka Vakalevu!

9 comments:

Stuart in Fiji said...

Great news we've got this running Mike! Keep on blogging and I'll keep on posting and we'll make a difference here in Fiji.

Felix Leander said...

DaShark - can you send me your email address?

Shark Diver said...

Well THIS IS impressive guys, wowza, nice job.

Stuart in Fiji said...

Thanks SharkDiver!

Matava has a good in house online marketing department and this cause is exactly the kind we like to support. We're still lucky in Kadavu to have many sharks in the channels.

Good to be able help!

Stuart

DaShark said...

Thank you Patric!

We're quite honestly stoked and overwhelmed by the positive feedback from all across the Country.
A lot of work but well worth it!

I'd be grateful if you could mention it on your Blog - maybe somebody in some other Island Nation can pick up on it & run something similar there.

The Sharkman said...

Thanks for the support guys. We need all the help we can get for The International Year Of the Shark 2009.
Anyone wishing to join, please contact us.

Thanks.

Alex & Ila.
http://www.year-of-the-shark-2009.org

DaShark said...

No THANK YOU Alex for having come up with this. Great idea and great execution!

At least when it comes to Fiji, this is going to help enormously in educating the public about Sharks - we need to get across how vitally important they are for the health of the Reef which is the ONE resource the Pacific Islanders depend on for their livelihoods but also, for Tourism, the number one source of income of this Country.

Shark Alley said...

Both the International year of the Shark site and your Fiji project site look great! I wish you luck with the project! I also enjoy your blog =)

DaShark said...

Thank you Shark Alley, appreciate!

Coming along nicely: great cause and good fun!