April saw the start of the bi-annual ‘Fiji Shark, Ray and Turtle count’. Throughout the month Tokoriki guests recorded sightings of shark, ray and turtle species seen on their snorkels and scuba dives.
Guests and staff found the experience to be fun, easy and educational.
The survey (which took place all over the country) is used to map out where these threatened species are found in Fiji and in what numbers.
Results from our previous counts in April and November 2012, highlighted that sightings of shark species were less than they should have been, indicating a decline in shark populations.
Many sharks, even those species previously common in our waters, are taken by longline vessels for the heinous sharkfin market. Fiji is lagging way behind other South Pacific nations in still allowing this barbaric form of fishing. It is hoped that information from economically important tourism sources may help towards the goal of a shark sanctuary similar to those in the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Palau.
April’s scuba dives and snorkel excursions encountered Hawksbill turtles, White Tip, Black Tip and Grey Reef sharks, Tawny Nurse sharks, Eagle Rays, Blue Spotted Sting Rays, Blue Spotted Ribbon Tailed Rays and a Manta Ray, but sadly not in the numbers that we should be seeing them in on most areas.
The sites with the most regular sightings of Hawksbill turtles, Whitetip and Blacktip reef sharks are Tokoriki’s home reef and our Giant Clam Regeneration site- both protected from fishing.