Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fiji Times on Sharks!

Kudos to Samuela Loanakadavu.

He witnessed the over harvesting of Sharks and decided to address the topic.
The result is this remarkable feature in Fiji's biggest newspaper, the Fiji Times. Well researched and formulated, it clearly highlights the importance of Sharks for their habitat and why protecting them, and consequently, the reefs they live in is very much in the national interest.
In a nutshell, if Fiji looses its natural resources, we may as well kiss our tourism industry goodbye.

As to Aquatrek, bah.
What you read is a verbatim copy/paste from their website. How pathetic and once again, not the journo's fault for assuming that people don't lie in public.
And yes, I'm again being petty and yes, I'm digressing.

What needs to be added to the article is this.
It is quite correct to observe that like everywhere else, Fiji's marine resources are being over-exploited - but having been there, I can assure you that in comparison to most other tropical destinations, Fiji is in many ways a trailblazer in sustainable marine management!

As to the role of Government, it is not only aware of the situation but is actually very much working on solutions.
But this is an emerging country and the Department of Fisheries only disposes of so many resources, and a succession of Governments with varying priorities has not been helpful. Plus, the qoliqoli system whereby the villages are the trustees of the reefs requires lengthy consultations and education at the grassroots level, something that once again implies investments in time, people and money.
But despite of it and the magnitude of the challenges ranging from climate change mitigation and coordinating the Pacific Tuna fisheries all the way to re-mapping the individual qoliqoli entitlements and modernizing the antiquated fisheries laws, progress has been remarkable.

And when it comes to Shark conservation, Government has been nothing but supportive and frankly, a joy to work with. At present, under a new transparent, accountable and highly result oriented management team, Fisheries are in fact actively pursuing pro-Shark policies and having been involved in that process, I am indeed very optimistic.

Keep watching this space!

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