Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Running of The Bulls!!!

You read correctly, the team at BAD are waiting with bated breath for the running of the bulls; not the 4-legged variety though.

Late December into early January are the months when the mature bull sharks will return in droves from their annual birthing/mating migration. This year they departed our local waters in September whereupon we were left witnessing mostly juvenile sub-adult bull sharks and the odd adult straggler who, for whatever reason, decided not to leave Shark Reef with the other adults.

Joining us this year to meet the bulls on their return are the team from The Bull Shark Tagging Programme, Juerg Brunnschweiler and Gary Adkison. If you have questions regarding bull sharks, or other shark species for that matter, the New Year period would be a great time to pick the brains of two highly respected figures in the shark world. If you would like more information on how to join Juerg and Gary and learn more about the research at Shark Reef Marine Reserve, contact us here...

Award winning film about sharks.

In an effort to protect sharks, Rob Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives.

Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed.

Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks, into a fight for his life, and that of humankind.

Read about Sharkwater and Stewart & Watson's battle for survival....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Amazing pictures of breaching Great White Sharks!

I stumbled upon this link whilst browsing for shark pictures. The pictures are copyrighted and cannot be downloaded - but they are simply stunning! To see these amazing pictures, click here

More breaching Great White Sharks on the web page of our friend Klaus Jost, right here....

Great News: Full protection for Great White Sharks in New Zealand!

White pointer sharks will now be fully protected within the 200 nautical miles of New Zealand and from fishing by New Zealand-flagged boats, further a field, in a change in legislation announced by the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries today.

The species, also known as the great white shark, will be protected under The Wildlife Act meaning it will be illegal to hunt, kill or harm a white pointer shark within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ – 200 nautical mile limit around NZ). It will also be illegal in New Zealand to possess or trade in any part of a white pointer shark.

New Zealand is a signatory to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and has an obligation to prohibit the taking of white pointer sharks.

More about this fantastic achievement here

Great Barrier Reef sharks on the edge

Sharks living around the coral reefs of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) face imminent “ecological” extinction unless urgent action is taken to protect them from fishermen and poachers, according to the first study of the animals’ survival on the GBR.

Densities of grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and whitetip shark (Triaenodon obesus) are down by as much as 97% in parts of the GBR that are fished compared to areas where fishing vessels are banned. So says Howard Choat, who carried out the study with colleagues at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Fishing vessels are banned from “no entry” zones, which make up only 1% of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Read more about the plight of the sharks here

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Meet Juerg Brunnschweiler, our resident Bull Shark specialist

Juerg M. Brunnschweiler is a PhD student at the Department of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. His main research interests are behavioural and ecological aspects of sharks. In 2003 he initiated the Bull Shark Tagging Programme with the long-term goal of understanding movement patterns, habitat use and population dynamics of bull sharks.

Learn more about Juerg's studies here...

The Legend of DAKUWAQA the Shark God who protects our feeders

One of the best known gods in Fijian legends is the fierce sea-monster Dakuwaqa. He was the guardian of the reef entrance of the islands, fearless, headstrong and jealous. He frequently changed himself into the form of a shark and travelled around the islands fighting all the other reef guardians.

One day he set out for the Lomaiviti group and after emerging victorious from this area he decided to set out for Suva....

(Photo: Michael Aw)

Monday, October 30, 2006

If you want to learn more about sharks.

The following selection of shark books represents a cross section of the popular literature available on elasmobranch fishes. They are not all necessarily recommended reading but are included to give the reader a somewhat subjective outline of their content. Many of the books are comprehensive enough to warrant inclusion in more than one area but to avoid repetition they are listed where their content is most note worthy. More here...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fiji Sharks heading to DEMA


It's nearing that time again. The world's biggest professional dive show, DEMA will be held in Orlando from the 8-11th November, 2006.

This year the show is at the Orlando Convention Center and Beqa Adventure Divers are pleased to be returning once again. We will be showcasing some incredible shark images and letting everyone know what's going on for the coming year. If you are going to DEMA, be sure to stop by booth #790 and check in with us.

In conjunction with The Shark Foundation, Switzerland, we are very pleased to be sponsoring 2 seminars; Shark Diving and Eco-tourism: A Conservation Success Story. These presentations are from 1-2pm on Thursday the 9th and Friday the 10th. All are welcome to come and learn of the conservation work and research that is happening in Fiji.

DEMA is going to be a great time to catch up with good friends and hopefully meet some new ones, so stay tuned for live updates and photos from the DEMA show...

Some news from France on Aqua-web from Denis Jeant

Le World Challenge de BBC World a pour objectif de récompenser les projets qui font une réelle différence en matière de communautés locales.

Le World Challenge de BBC World 2006 est organisé par BBC World et le magazine généraliste américain (Usa) Newsweek, en partenariat avec la société Shell, dont les objectifs sont de trouver des individus ou des groupes dans le monde qui ont développé des projets innovants dans le domaine.

(photo by Michael O'Neill)

Voter vous permet de soutenir un des douze projets qualifiés (voir ci-dessous). La cloture des votes aura lieu à 17h00 GMT le 19 novembre 2006.

Le gagnant recevra de la compagnie Shell un premier prix de 20 000 dollars US pour développer son projet.

Les deux prix suivants seront de 10 000 dollars US. Un représentant de chacun des trois projets finalistes sera envoyé à la Haye, aux Pays-Bas pour assister à la cérémonie de remise des prix.


Formed in 2002, Bite-Back continues to be the UK's only organisation dedicated to the protection of sharks by reducing consumer demand for its meat and fins.

With the law of supply and demand at its cornerstone, Bite-Back works together with restaurants, fishmongers and retailers to remove shark products from menus and fish counters, effectively lowering the trade in this threatened species.

Since its launch, Bite-Back's ongoing success has seen the organisation take on more mainstream marine conservation issues including campaigns to significantly reduce the trade in other threatened species; lowering levels of oceanic pollution and; protecting fragile coral reefs. Each campaign has been developed to empower the public to become more resolute in its commitment to conserving the oceans, at a local level, through awareness, education, motivation and inspiration.

Read more about this UK conservation body here...

The Sharkman meets Ron & Valerie Taylor

Hello Ron & Valerie.


Sharkman: In 95% of all Shark related material, your names can be found. How long have you been Interested in Sharks?

Ron: I have been interested in sharks ever since I can remember because I heard stories of people being attacked by sharks along our coastline and my parents used to take me swimming in the ocean when I was very young

Read more of the interview with Ron & Valerie...

US Singer Supports Shark Trust

Nikki Capra, a singer/songwriter based in the US, contacted the Shark Trust office generously offering to donate a portion of her new album (The Astronaut) sales to the Shark Trust. We are very excited about working with Nikki in this way as not only is she a very talented musician but she is genuinely lovely too. Check out her website to read more about her and see her section on sharks or go to her myspace account. Both sites have downloadable tracks and lots and lots of information, pictures, tour dates and poetry from the songstress.

And just to give you a little taster of what you can expect...:

From The Shark Trust Website

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IN Depth - Fiji, DIVE UK Magazine article

By Simon Rogerson

For British divers, Fiji represents the ultimate escape: it lies some 2,000 miles northeast of Australia and 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. That's about as far from Britain as it is possible to be, but the journey is not as punishing as you may believe - two sets of ten-hour flights via California or the Far East, and you're there. The question is… where are you going to stay? The most important thing is to choose a resort or boat where the diving programme suits you. Simon Rogerson reports on some of the establishments available to visiting divers, each with its own distinctive character.

Located on the southern side of the main island of Viti Levu, divers are drawn to two specific attractions - soft coral and extremely big sharks. Just a ten-minute ride offshore by fast catamaran is Shark Reef Marine Reserve, a multi-tiered site where several types of shark are baited up from deep water. On a single dive, it is possible to see bull, lemon, nurse, black-tip, silver-tip grey reef and even tiger sharks.


How Sharks Survive Frigid Water

Cool site LiveScience, has some cutting edge articles...

Salmon sharks spend much of their lives in ice-cold waters in the North Pacific. How do they stand it?

New research points to a special protein that may help them survive the frigid conditions.
Researchers attached satellite tags to 48 female salmon sharks in Prince William Sound, Alaska, to track their movements over three years. They also examined the sharks’ physiology to uncover how they endure winter waters dipping to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Salmon sharks maintain a 70-degree body temperature through high metabolic rates and internal heat exchanges. This study, by researchers at Stanford University, shows that salmon sharks also have an enhanced set of proteins that help their hearts contract at cold temperatures.

But even with these mechanisms in place, many of the sharks still bask in warmer surface waters during the winter, and others leave the region all together.

While most of the tagged salmon sharks spent their summers around North Pacific coast, half of them migrated south to California and the subtropics once cold winter temperatures set in. Some even went to Hawaii.

The researchers suggest that this previously unknown behavior is influenced by the two major driving forces of shark’s life: food and sex.

Prince William Sound is full of salmon and herring during the summer, but only herring in the winter, so these sharks may have left to look for food. Or they may be seeking warmer waters in which to give birth.

The findings will help ecologists improve ecosystem models for Prince William Sound. This type of satellite tracking, researchers say, could be used to create a map of shark habitats worldwide, a task that may prove critical to their protection.

This study is reported in the Oct. 7 issue of the journal Science.

Michael Aw coming to Fiji

Without a doubt this is the definitive shark dive adventure in the world – imagine predictably close encounter with Tiger shark, Bull shark, Silver-tip, Grey Reef, Tawny Nurse, White-tip, Sicklefin Lemon shark, Blacktip Reef Shark all from one site in the wild.

If you love sharks and serious on preserving them, be sure to join this tour to Shark Reef – a marine protected area dedicated to protect sharks in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji...

Read more about what Michael thinks on his website here...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flickr photos from a diver

Here are a couple of good photos on two different accounts of The Shark Dive on Flickr, Yahoo!'s photo site from one of our happy divers.



Scientists plot course of great white shark.

A great white shark tagged in South Australian waters three months ago has shown up off the northern coast of Western Australia.

CSIRO scientists placed a satellite tracking device on the shark in waters near Port Lincoln.
Recent data showed the female great white, known as Columba, was about 100 kilometres north-west of Exmouth, at a depth of about 600 metres.

CSIRO research scientist Barry Bruce says the information is important for two reasons.
"We're trying to understand what draws sharks to certain areas at certain times, what pathways they use to move between these certain areas and use that information to minimise the risk that we pose to sharks," he said.

"But also see if we can use that information to minimise the risk that sharks pose to us."
Mr Bruce says it is the first time such a long journey has been successfully tracked by satellite.
"They must be making these journeys for particular reasons, so it's exciting for us to be able to plot its course as it goes up the coast and it's found this area," he said.

"Now it's been up there for the last two-and-a-half weeks and we're currently in the process of contacting various colleagues that work in the area just to see what on earth would attract a white shark to deep water off this particular area."

ABC News Online

Monday, October 23, 2006

Saving sharks with magnets

Every year thousands of sharks die after becoming snared on hooks set by commercial fisheries to catch fish such as tuna and swordfish.

Michael Herrmann of Shark Defense, has won the WWF 2006 Smart Gear competition for an innovation that addresses the problem of shark by-catch.

Knowing that sharks can detect magnetic fields, Herrmann found that placing strong magnets just above the hooks on longline fishing nets can repel certain shark species.

From WWF.

Four Times more Sharks caught than Officially Reported

Three to four times as many sharks are killed for their fins as are reported in the official figures.

Researchers looked at trade in shark fins, and used genetic identification to estimate by species the number of globally traded shark fins.

The results are the first fishery-independent estimate of the scale of shark catches worldwide. If the estimates are correct for one of the most commonly traded species, the blue shark, then the nubers being caught are very close to the maximum sustainable levels.

Increasing awareness of the vulnerability of shark species to exploitation and a proliferation of finning (i.e. removal of fins and discarding of the carcass at sea) have contributed to growing concerns that the fin trade may be driving shark catches to unsustainable levels.

The research was led by Shelley Clarke of Imperial College London who has lived in Asia for over 12 years.

Hong Kong is world's largest shark fin market with at least half of the global trade.

Ecology Letters, Volume 9, Number 10, October 2006, pp. 1115-1126(12)
Conservation Biology Volume 20, No. 1, 201–211

Shark Finning Banned around Namibia, Angola, South Africa

A fisheries organisation for the protection of marine resources along the coastlines of Namibia, Angola and South Africa has banned shark finning.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dive Site Directory Rating

A nice Reader Review from a UK diver...

"Dive Site: Shark Reef
Location: Between Pacific Harbour and the island
of Beqa on the northern tip of Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Description: Shark
Depth: 16 - 30 metres (52 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 15 - 30 metres
(50 - 100 feet)
Rating: *****
Shark Reef is a marine reserve recognised by the Ministry of Fisheries and monitored by Beqa Adventure Divers who feed nine
(yes nine!) species of shark four times weekly.
The dive is promoted as The
Big Fish Encounter and from the moment the handing out of 300 plus kilos of chum
is begun..."

And another one on same website:

Fiji Times Article, Thursday, October 12, 2006

Beqa Divers recognised
Thursday, October 12, 2006

BEQA Adventure Divers is one of the 12 finalists from 900 entries in the BBC World's World Challenge Award 2006.

Pacific Harbour Tourism Association chairman Jim Sherlock said the association was extremely proud that one of its members had been selected as finalist for this international award.
Based at Pacific Harbour, Beqa Adventure Divers (BAD) is the only Oceania finalist in the running for the prestigious award. The other finalists are from Africa, Asia and Europe.

Mr Sherlock said Beqa Adventure Divers had been selected as a finalist for its efforts in creating a marine reserve on "Shark Reef" in order to protect sharks that are becoming an endangered species because of the long-line fishing industry.

He said with the current debate over the Qoliqoli Bill it is interesting to note that BAD negotiated with two landowning units that both claimed ownership over Shark Reef. They have contracts with both Galoa and Wainiyabia villages and pay them both $5 per day per diver in compensation for allowing nobody to fish within the boundaries of the marine reserve.

Fiji Times Article, Thursday, October 12, 2006

The World Challenge 2006

The World Challenge is back and looking to reward projects that make a real difference to local communities. World Challenge 2006, brought to you by BBC World and Newsweek, in association with Shell, aims to find individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level.

World Challenge 2006 is all about global involvement, casting a net for ideas from individuals or groups deserving recognition....more

To all of our customers, past, present and future, from the team at Beqa Adventure Divers, all involved with Shark Reef Marine Reserve and The Bull Shark Tagging Programme; we would like to say a huge thank you for helping to support the work that is happening here in Fiji.
If you feel that Shark Reef Marine Reserve and The Fiji Shark Project are worthy causes, please take a moment and register your vote in The World Challenge 2006 and help raise the awareness of the sharks struggle for survival.

The World Challenge 2006 starts airing on BBC World from the 8th October. The Shark Park documentary airs on the 28th October at 0930 & 1630 GMT and again on the 29th October at 0330, 1330 & 2130 GMT. The coverage in Newsweek begins in issue 16 October with The Shark Park featured in the 06 November edition (on sale from 30th October).

Old news from Sept 2005

Bula from the folks at BAD!

September has been and gone and what a month it was. BAD was privileged to play host to Juerg Brunschweiller and his research team, Gary & Brenda Adkison and Ron & Valerie Taylor. Last month also saw the return of some familiar faces, Mike & Jo and the arrival of some new faces, Matt & Klaus.

In 2004, Juerg used state of the art pop-up satellite tags on 11 mature female bull sharks to learn more about their annual migration routes. This year was all about localised movements; with the use of listening stations and radio transmitters, Juerg is hoping to uncover the secrets to the bulls? daily movement patterns within the waters of Beqa Lagoon. Mother nature did not make it easy for us.

Torrential rain caused the Qaraniqio River to burst it?s banks, canceling a couple of day?s diving and ultimately creating some sub-optimal visibility. However, after the 2 weeks all the listening stations were positioned and ?Granma?, one of the larger female bulls, is now the proud host to a radio transmitter.

Hopefully we shall get some interesting data from her movements during the time before she headed off on her annual mating/birthing migration.The bull sharks have now departed from Shark Reef Marine Reserve; this now means that we are having more sightings of Silvertips. With all 3 of our named individuals, Madonna, Lady & Joker, already regulars at the site and 3 unnamed individuals already witnessed, it looks to be a good summer in SRMR. Ratu Rua, the resident Queensland Grouper is a common fixture as is Hamilton the Napolean Wrasse.Prior to the freak rains, we were experiencing 20-30m viz out on our soft coral sites in Beqa Lagoon. Some interesting finds this month were Frogfish and Stonefish on Rusi?s Pinnacle and Hawksbill Turtles at Carpet Cove.

A big congratulations goes out to Seema, Claire and Alan on completing their PADI Open Water Diver Course, may you have many years of happy diving ahead of you.

Finally to all those who came diving with us, the team at BAD say Vinaka Vakalevu and we hope to see again soon.

Andrew and the crew

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cool photo of Granma!

Rusiate Balenagasau and one of the Bull Sharks, 'Granma', on The Shark Dive in Shark Reef Marine Reserve, a protected sanctuary in Beqa Passage, Fiji

(Michael O'Neill takes a good photo huh?)