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Shark Conservation in Fiji
Located off the southern coast of Fiji.s main island of Viti Levu lays Shark Reef Marine Reserve, a marine park completely dedicated to the protection of sharks. Boasting eight regular resident species of sharks and more than 300 species of fish, this is arguably the best place world wide for experiencing huge bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) up close and personal.
The marine park is run by a local dive operation together with two villages who have relinquished their fishing rights in favor of a direct contribution from the divers, thus constituting an excellent template for long-term sustainable ecotourism. Shark Reef Marine Reserve is a highly successful small-scale and local community-based conservation project in the South Pacific.
Having been established in 2004 by retired Deutsche Bank executive and now full-time conservationist Mike Neumann and a team of highly professional and motivated Fijian nationals, it has since been a highly successful object of cutting-edge scientific research by Swiss zoologist Dr. Juerg Brunnschweiler and Bishop Museum Associate John Earle, with funding from the Shark Foundation, the Save our Seas Foundation and PADI Project AWARE.
Shark Reef Marine Reserve Fiji is home to the Bull Shark Tagging Programme. It monitors local- and regional-scale movement patterns of not only bull sharks, but other shark and fish species as well, using state-of-the-art satellite and acoustic telemetry. Following a highly successful study using pop-up satellite archival tags to study the vertical and horizontal movements and habitat use of bull sharks, the current research is focusing on small-scale, local movements using passive acoustic telemetry.
After placing receivers on various surrounding locations, the sharks are being fed small acoustic transmitters that trigger the receivers whenever a tagged shark should swim by. The insights thus gained into day/night movement patterns and presence/absence data from various reefs provide valuable data for planning any subsequent expansion of the protected area. This has already led to the establishment of a 30 mile protected .Shark Corridor. in 2006.
A contribution to marine life conservation efforts in the South Pacific: The Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji (PDF)
8 August 2006: A new and unexpected host for the sharksucker (Echeneis naucrates) with a brief review of the echeneid.host interactions (PDF)
An integrated approach to study bull shark behaviour and ecology
in the South Pacific: The Bull Shark Tagging Programme
Juerg M. Brunnschweiler
Pictures of Shark research
Shark species Shark Reef
Tawny nurse shark
Gray reef shark
Blacktip reef shark
Whitetip reef shark
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