Posts Tagged ‘ocean conservation’

Sad news has surfaced about the proposed “Shark Sanctuary” in Fiji. Apparently the Government feel it isn’t important, since they are looking into the protection of sharks in the waters of Fiji.

I won’t go into all the details of what the Government said, since you can read all about it in a Blog by my friend David Diley, who just so happens to have been in Fiji last year filming a documentary about the sharks there (If you haven’t read his blogs yet, I can highly recommend that you do)

Here’s the link http://officetoocean.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/bad-news-from-fiji.html (Excuse me for posting the whole link, but I ,for the life of me, cannot work out how to shorten links here on WordPress)

What I will do however is mention a few of the possible causes that may have resulted in the Government doing a rather rapid turn around on this matter. Basically a few weeks back it seemed almost certain that the sanctuary will be given a big Thumbs up, and then suddenly it became a “maybe” and now it’s a definite no.

SO what went wrong? There are a few theories flying around, involving everything from pressure from the Tuna industry, Bribery by the Shark Finning Industry, a lack of Local support, and interference from visiting groups.

The Tuna Industry theory probably hold a fair amount of water, since it is one of the leading industries in Fiji, but at the end of the day, Tuna move about, and it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle for the tuna fishermen just to go beyond the boundary of the sanctuary and then catch themselves some fish…

The Finning industry Bribing certain officials is one argument that i do not buy into, the reason for this, even though it gives a sense of subterfuge, and skullduggery, the fact is that the Fijian government itself knows that revenue brought in by the Shark Tourism industry far exceeds anything that could be raised by Finning those same Sharks.

The theory of the Locals not supporting the Sanctuary is probably the least likely of the lot, since Sharks feature very prominently in Fijian culture, you can ask David, he has first hand experience in this.

And lastly the Idea of “Outside interference” being involved…. well this is an interesting one, with a few too many coincidences to ignore, A certain “Society” (whom I will not name, but I’m sure you know who they are) were told by the Fijian Government that their presence in Fiji was not welcome in regards to this entire project, and that if they were to ignore the statement, that they could in fact jeopardise the chances of the Sanctuary being approved. Approximately a month back this “Society” decide to get Tourist Visa’s and then head to Fiji…. They then proceed to harass various Government Officials to meet with them to discuss the Sanctuary, when this fails (Basically the Officials just ignored them, which I don’t blame them for) they proceed to sniff out a Local Long Liner and give him an open platform to voice his opinions, which basically resulted in a conclusion of “The Sanctuary won’t work”. Then they proceed to go and teach the school children about sharks….. (I’ll stop there, because I have a lot to say about that, but then I’ll end up going off topic.) It would be an understatement to say that the people who have been working on this Sanctuary for the past 3 years were very unhappy with the “Society’s” blatant disregard to the risk they posed in the Sanctuary’s approval. And I’m sure the Government themselves weren’t happy either. Here comes the main coincidence…. One month after their arrival, the Sanctuary gets the thumbs down…..

SO do i think that the “Society” is to blame? Well yes and no, I think their presence and negative publicity definitely had an effect on the outcome… But i think that a lot of things have taken place behind the scenes which we are not aware of. Basically the end result is there will be no Shark Sanctuary in Fiji within the next few years. This certainly does not mean the people involved in Fiji will be giving up though, at the end of the day, they are “Sloggers

What can we do now to help you may ask…. well firstly we can offer our support to them, and actually take the time to find out what we can do to help them, this means we should not go out on a personal rampage bombarding the Fijian Government with petitions.

Lastly i would like to tip my hat to those who were involved in attempting to get the Sanctuary approved, you are true hero’s in my eyes. Keep fighting the good fight and don’t let these set backs get you down.