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Fiji Shark, Ray and Turtle Count

Thursday November 1, 2012

1st November saw the start of the bi-annual ‘Fiji Shark, Ray and Turtle count’. Throughout the month of November Tokoriki guests recorded sightings of shark, ray and turtle species on their snorkel, scuba dive or fishing trips.

Tokoriki participated last April in the same survey and guests found the experience to be fun, easy and educational.

Results of the survey (which is taking place all over Fiji) are used to map out where certain species of these threatened species are found in Fiji and in what numbers.

Results from the April 2012 survey highlighted that sightings of shark species were under what they should have been, indicating a decline in shark populations.

This decline in shark numbers has been brought about largely by commercial shark finning, commercial long line fishing (where sharks are often caught as a by catch), and to a lesser extent by unscrupulous tourist fishing operators who do not practice ‘catch and release’.

November’s scuba dives and snorkel excursions bore witness to Hawksbill turtles, White Tip, Black Tip and Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Blue Spotted Sting Rays, Blue Spotted Ribbon Tailed Rays and a Giant Reef Ray, but sadly not in the numbers that we should be seeing them in.

The creation of marine protected areas as well as a call for sensible marine sensitive development are of paramount importance in Fiji to protect such species.

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Illustration of Red tooth triggerfish