Monday, August 01, 2011

More excellent Sharky Stories by the Fiji Times!

Adi, by MPO - yes those are links!

Today's Fiji Times features a stunning two-page spread on Sharks.
This is a continuation of their stellar advocacy of Shark protection in cooperation with CORAL The Coral Reef Alliance and the Pew Environment Group's global shark campaign.
Thank you Shark Defenders for having re-posted the articles.

How Jaws made the shark a monster in our minds is authored by Lee-Anne Lee of the Fiji Voyaging Society.
She's aboard board the drua Uto Ni Yalo and about to reach San Francisco after an epic voyage of close to 11,00 nautical miles. On board is also Moala Tokota'a of CORAL and it just so happens that our Arthur was one of the crew of the 2010 maiden voyage and that Ratu Manoa is very much involved in the undertaking, hence the connection to Sharks conservation.

The angry fisherman who turned into a shark
is of particular interest to us here at BAD.
This is the story of the Fijian Shark God Dakuwaqa as told by Mika Tubanavau, storyteller of the village of Rukua. Rukua on Beqa Island is the home of our most senior staff Rusi, Manasa and Eliki, and of Tumbee, Manasa's son - and according to Beqa lore, a cave behind the village is the very place where Dakuwaqa resides!
I was fascinated by how the legend as told here complements the legend as told in Cakaudrove, with the tiny island of Benau off Taveuni being the obvious common link between the two. To this day, both tribes are engaged in a friendly feud as to who can claim to be the true people of Dakuwaqa.

And then, there is this Letter to the Editor.

I READ with great interest in your newpaper about the efforts of a number of organisations and people to protect the sharks.
Their efforts are great.
Yet, almost on a daily basis, I notice that there are middleman selling fish at the Nubukalou Creek cutting and packing sharks in plastic bags for sale.
I have noticed that they also get in baby shark - up to a metre - and just go on with their business. I think Suva City Council ought to do something.
And I request Mr Manoa Rasigatale to visit them and discourage the shark meat sellers.


This touches on the real crux of the problem.
Nubukalou Creek is a notorious site in the middle of Suva where fish vendors hawk the daily catches. Many of the fishing skiffs feature disproportionally powerful engines, a strong indication that they belong to those poachers who regularly raid the qoliqoli, or traditional fishing grounds of offshore islands. The Sharks that are being offered for sale are mostly Reef Sharks like Blacktips and Greys, and this nefarious practice is a direct and largely irreversible threat to our reef habitats and by extension, to the livelihood of entire coastal communities that depend on the ocean for their daily sustenance.
Right now, fishing for Sharks is perfectly legal and there is precious little that either the Suva City Council or even Ratu Manoa can do. This is yet another reason why it is imperative to immediately ban all trade in Sharks and Shark products in Fiji.

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