Monday, January 7, 2013

Mystery over mass death of baby sharks in Fiji

Photo: Molly Powers
THE Great Fiji Shark Count is willing to work with the Ministry of Fisheries to ascertain how 50 baby hammerhead sharks were found dead along the Nukulau beachfront over the weekend.

Nanise Ledua, a member of the GFSC, said they were working on sending a team to Nukulau Island to gather samples of the dead baby sharks and to determine the cause of their deaths.

"We have so many theories surrounding the dead baby sharks, but we cannot prove it right now," she said.

Photo: Molly Powers
Ms Ledua said the toxic spill theory was not possible as other species of fish and other marine lives were not affected and the other possibility of the cause of their deaths was the change in water temperature, but this could not be confirmed.

"It's all assumptions, we are assuming that maybe because baby sharks are always in shallow waters, they could have suffocated due to the change in water temperature.

"This is really, really sad to see that this number of sharks are dead," she said.

Ms Ledua added that they had assumed that it was not a failed attempt at shark fishing as the hammerhead sharks still had their dorsal fins.

"There are a lot of questions that we are asking and we can only determine the answers to these questions when we get samples of it," she said.

Photo: Molly Powers
The GFSC-run Fiji shark dive website in one of its blogs reported: "With Nukulau sitting within the reach of the waters from Rewa where there is a hammerhead nursery, chances are that something has happened there."

"I'm saddened that only one species of shark is involved," Ms Ledua added.

Printed in the Fiji Times on January 7, 2013.  Written by Mere Naleba

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