Sunday, April 29, 2012

Support for Shark Conservation in Fiji Builds

There are four shark conservation related stories in this morning's Fiji Times.
Shark conservation is big news in Fiji these days.  The Australian Institute of Marine Science released a socioeconomic report on the importance of shark tourism to the Fijian economy, calculating that sharks bring nearly F$75 million in tourist spending to the country each year.  The Fijian police also pledge their support to shark conservation, even while shark fishing continues (the reporter interviews a fishermen who sold juvenile tiger sharks and hammerheads to Chinese traders for $8 a piece).

Pacific Shark Defenders Unite: Ratu Manoa "The Sharkman" Rasagitale with Guam Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero.
Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero of Guam, also makes an appearance in today's paper.  The senator was recently in Fiji in transit and had a chance to sit down with the Fiji Times for an interview:
Stop the killing
by Ilaitia Turagabeci
Monday, April 30, 2012

Data sharing among Pacific island states will help them protect sharks, says a leading campaigner from Guam.

Carlotta Leon Guerrero, who returned home over the weekend after visiting Kiribati, said islanders should do all they can to conserve their tuna stocks and stop the indiscriminate killing of sharks in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

She said officials in Kiribati were studying plans to protect their seas and had taken data shared by other island states, including Fiji.

"After my presentation, they asked me 'which country has the toughest law' and I told them the Marshalls Islands. They simply said 'that one is what we want'."

The Marshalls has declared its waters a shark sanctuary, imposing heavy fines on fishing vessels that breach that. It has also banned ships that have sharks as by-catch from entering its ports.

Money it collects from fines goes towards the enforcement of its laws at sea.

"As Pacific islanders, we should stand up to these distance-fishing nations to change their gear, which is depleting our marine stocks.

"The reason for the slaughter of sharks is wrong. The Asian delicacy of shark fin soup, for which these sharks are senselessly killed for, is just to show off."

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