Saturday, March 13, 2021

More Poaching on Shark Reef!

Damn those people.
I knew that little friendly red Grouper.
And those are some of our last Parrotfish, and seeing that dead Angelfish breaks my heart.

But at least Tashi Blue was able to save that little Turtle.
I know, it's not much, just a little Hawksbill - but it is something, and for that little Turtle it is everything. We've known her for many years and can only hope that she will make it.
And Fred the clam is happy, too! :)
The poachers are known and will be prosecuted.
And before you ask and/or start lecturing us in Fijian protocol and the like: no, they're by no means destitute and desperate. 
They all have jobs, and have done this for fun
And the other inevitable excuses are just that.
Shark Reef has been a tabu since 2004, and since the gazetting in 2014, the fishing ban is like any other law and needs to be respected - and no there's no need for special signage or the like: it's up to the fishermen to know what is legal and what not. And we are duty-bound, by law, to enforce the ban - and enforce it we will.
All our local communities know that and don't poach there, the more since for many years, the reef has provided them with spillover fish for their qoliqoli, hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct assistance, and jobs for their youth. 
But those folks are not from here and didn't even bother to follow protocol and ask for permission before fishing in somebody else's reefs - and lemme tell 'ya, over in Beqa that's a transgression punishable by bush knife, not just a bit of shouting!
So people, chill - and as a minimum, know the facts!

And Turtles are protected country-wide.
And everybody in Fiji knows that.
It's so bloody disheartening.
Hopefully, now that the first batch of vaccines is in country, tourism and the economy will slowly pick up and the poaching will subside - but from what we can see, the damage is enormous and will take years to mend.
For now, all we can do is to keep on fighting.

Oh well.
Onward and upward - nobody said it was gonna be easy.
To be continued.
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