On Aug.17 our office receives a call from a Denpasar Fisherman regarding a 1.6 meter White Tip Reef Shark that had been captured overnight in net off Singaraja (North Bali.) I immediately thought that seemed odd as fishermen would rather kill, instead of handling catch that large. I asked the office staff to find out if it "was a female?" since they are the larger of the species. The caller did not know as he was calling it in for Fishermen up North. Regardless if they were willing to drive it down 4 hours we would be more than happy to buy it for their efforts. Their alternative would be to kill it for the value of the fins to the Chinese market.
I turn on my video camera & ask the fishermen who called it in, if it was from Singaraja. The only thing out of his mouth is "It's female, she's….." and he makes an enlarged motion to his stomach. "She's pregnant!" is what he is trying to tell me. Everything all the sudden made sense, the fishermen wanted to save Ibu Hiu, translated as "Mama Shark."
"Ibu Hiu" is currently healthy and has her own area at Bali Sharks Conservation Nursery. She is expected to give birth (1 to 6 pups) anywhere in the first few months of 2013. WIth her arrival the 100 square meter nursery is filled to capacity. At first it was a great success story as fishermen on the other side of Bali saved a pregnant shark. However outgrowing the 10 x 10 meter nursery is a reminder of the overfishing & finning problems facing the species. No sharks in duress equates to no nursery.
The following week we received a call about saving three 2 meter and three 1.5 meter White Tips along with a 1 meter Black Tip Reef Shark from Singaraja. We were unable to facilitate the sharks in our limited space and found out the next day their fins had been sent to Hong Kong.