Operation Shark Pups
Operation Shark Pups is a joint operation to combat illegal gill netting and safeguard the lives of young sharks who call the rivers home during the critical early developmental stages of their lives. Operation Shark Pups was created by My Fiji Shark and the Ministry of Fisheries Inshore Compliance Division in 2022. It began with meetings and presentations to the Provincial Councils of Rewa and Tailevu. Fisheries officers then utilised the assistance of the Police to conduct widespread outreach and awareness campaigns with education decks provided by My Fiji Shark and Dr. Kerstin Glaus.
The first ever riverine patrols were implemented in the Rewa then Navua River systems. These patrols were carried out by the Ministry of Fisheries Inshore Compliance Division alongside and with the support of My Fiji Shark. The Fiji Shark Lab is proud to continue supporting these conservation efforts which have resumed late October 2023. Patrols have now expanded to include Namosi and Serua waters.
The objective of the riverine patrols is to enforce the Fisheries Regulation Fisheries Act CAP 158 which bans the use of gill nets in the rivers, estuaries and bays of Fiji. These gill nets kill indiscriminately and are responsible for the death of many species of sharks and rays. Especially vulnerable are neonates and young of the year, and with parturition season beginning in November for the Bull Sharks, ensuring that we keep nets out of the rivers and give the shark pups a chance at viability translates to maintaining healthy shark populations.
Species affected: Bull Sharks (Carcharhinus leucas); Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini); Sicklefin Lemon Shark (Negaprion acuditens); Reef Manta Ray (Mobula alfredi); Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus ocellatus) ; Mask Ray (Neotrygon sp.)
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