Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Real nice People

I just saw this video with Chip and Susan.

Great messaging, but above all, I'm being reminded of what genuinely nice people they are.
As expected, Chip's retirement did not even last one year so he's back in the rat race - but he is obviously still having fun and still diving, has become a Director of Shark Savers that will undoubtedly profit from his managerial skills, and has even managed to author a book about Sharks - haven't seen it yet but I know his pictures and only expect the best.
Oh, and read this interview!

Anyway, here's to two real nice people!

Lemons in Moorea - two!

This is a Sicklefin Lemon - forget the fins: notice the black dot on the nose? That's how you identify them!

Check this out.

This is another real interesting interview by WhySharksMatter .
David: well done & keep ‘em coming – so far, yer getting 10 out of 10!

Very cool!
Monsieur Clua is of course non other that the co-author of the Moorea Lemon Shark feeding paper and consequently, I continue to sense the same anti-feeding bias.
But at the same time, we learn that there are three dive ops feeding on that site, meaning that as expected, it is a multi-user site with all the resulting problems, and Johann Mourier’s answer on our Facebook stating that The feeding practices implemented by some diving center(for example feeding sharks from the surface) have led to a change in shark's behaviour, with bottom living lemons starting to come on the surface further leads me to believe that the real problem (if there is one) may well be procedures-related as I assumed in my post – and if so: everybody is herewith invited to come see what we do here, FOC, and discuss the possible implications for French Polynesia!

I actually tried to have that conversation there and although we are friends and everybody seemed interested, it was equally clear that nobody believed that the different interests would ever come around a table and agree on anything – I may add, very much like here in Fiji!

Anyway, the info about the value of Sharks was really interesting!
I remember seeing a direct value of approx USD 20,000 per shark per year from the Maldives, one operator in SA reports a value of approx USD 15,000 and the value of Shark tourism to the Bahamas is apparently USD 78m per year. Now, Clua postulates USD 50,000 per Shark per year for Moorea’s Lemons which is great – and also an indication of the price level of that particular corner of paradise!

Here’s the back-of-the-envelope calculation for Fiji.
We turn over FJD 1m with two boats, and it’s fair to assume that the guys down the road turn around half of that with one boat. Let’s also assume that all of it gets re-invested in Fiji, which is what we do.
Add the ancillary revenues as in flights, hospitality, restaurants, cabs, excursions, souvenirs etc and assume that the ratio may well be 2:1 (it is probably higher) – makes FJD 4.5m in total which two small dive ops earn with approx 100 regular Sharks.
Thus, the direct value of one of those Sharks to the Fiji economy is FJD 45,000 or USD 23,000 for every year it lives – as opposed to 300 bucks for its fins, once!
Pretty darn impressive, huh!

Clua also mentions the indirect value of Sharks to the Country citing improved fisheries etc.

In my conversations with Government, I say this.
Some Sharks (not all: some are clearly mesopredators that would wreak havoc on the lower throphic levels if their population were not held in check), notably the larger predatory ones are probably keystone species that have a profound effect on the health of the reefs, meaning that if they were removed, the reef ecosystems could well collapse.

With Fiji being an island state, it is fair to assume that the principal, if not the only reason why tourists come and visit are its pristine reefs and waters, meaning that if the reefs were to be degraded, Fiji (and French Polynesia, and the Bahamas, and the Maldives, and Palau!) could kiss their tourism industry goodbye!
That’s millions upon millions of dollars, often the country’s principal sector of GDP and source of foreign exchange!

Keep this in mind next time you talk about Sharks, OK?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Certified Shark Fins?

I was recently reminded of this post.

Actually, in a very nice way!
Alex Hofford got in contact telling us that he and Paul Hilton had just published this book , and that he was sending us a copy.

Can’t wait to see it and to rip it to shreds!
Just kidding! From what I can see, it’s the first of its kind to specifically explore the demise of Sharks and will very likely become a must have for any Shark lover.
And yes, I will blog about it once we get it!

I now find this astounding press release and read
Public education will "provide consumers with the ability to ensure the marine products they purchase are genuine and legally imported, while we will also help launch product certification for marine products"
Wow - may we really be witnessing progress?

Dunno who the Marine Products Association of Hong Kong really is, and who/what it stands for, and I certainly do neither like nor believe it when they claim that 90 percent of sharks are accidentally harvested, meaning they are by-catch, and not caught on purpose. Mind you, I don’t know the actual figures (does anybody?) – but this is just highly implausible, FAO or no FAO! Plus, I'm old enough to remember who claimed that the Oceans would feed humankind and advocated drift nets and long lines!

Having also seen a February document by the same org with and equally well worded but ultimately, anti-Shark content, my got feeling is caveat emptor – but then again, it IS a beginning.
Let’s keep watching as the situation unfolds.

Mary? Any objections - so far? :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biodiversity explained!

Biodiversity loss: state and scenarios 2006 and 2050.
These projections of biodiversity loss from 2000 to 2050 were produced by the GLOBIO consortium for UNEP's Global Environment Outlook 4. Across the GEO scenarios and regions, global biodiversity continues to be threatened, with strong implications for ecosystem services and human well-being. All regions continue to experience declines in terrestrial biodiversity in each of the scenarios. The greatest losses are seen in Markets First, followed by Security First, Policy First and Sustainability First for most regions. Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean experience the greatest losses of terrestrial biodiversity by 2050 in all four scenarios, followed by Asia and the Pacific. The differences among the regions are largely a result of broad-scale land-use changes, especially increases in pastureland and areas dedicated to biofuel production. The overall changes in terrestrial biodiversity though, are influenced by a number of other factors, including infrastructure development, pollution and climate change, as well as public policy and conflict.

Great Video, check it out!

Hat tip: ConservationBytes, my favorite conservation blog - that guy is seriously smart!

Biodiversity - Vancouver Film School from Vancouver Film School on Vimeo.

Ozzie Sam – great Guy, great Pics!

Here’s to Sam Cahir!

Soft spoken and humble, he really is a pleasure to host.
And after a squillion trips to Fiji to dive Beqa Passage (only!), his Shark photography is getting better and better, in line with his understanding of the animals. Case in point: the above picture of Nick that won him Best Wide Angle at the 2010 iDiveSharks Imaging Festival and and Best Shark Image at the Underwater Photography Photo Contest 2009/10 – and you can check out plenty more of Sam’s pictures here !

Now, it appears, he has struck again.
Mark of iDiveSharks is currently working on the 2011 iDS calendar and three of Sam’s pics have made the coveted bucket list! And guess what: although Sam alternates between Shark diving operators, it just so happens that all three were taken on the Fiji Shark Dive at Shark Reef – and yes, before you ask, being a multi-multi-multi return customer and a great guy on top of that, Sam is being accorded special privileges!
Anyway, how cool is that!

“Bully”, from Sam’s latest 2010 crop – very very nice indeed!

Can’t wait to see finished product!
The initial layout of the calender is great and the cover shot by Bill Fisher is really as good as it gets! May it have been taken from Lawrence’s runabout?

Enjoy Sam's pictures!

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Research - no Bull!

First things first!
Juerg has published the sat tagging paper!

I say, finally! And very well done!
But then, having been very much involved in the Fiji portion, I’m of course fatally biased!

Lemme tell ’ya: it has been challenging!
Talk about the new shiny hammer failing spectacularly! Not that he really had a choice, but Juerg took the decision not to take the easy way and to try and catch the Sharks, drag them to a boat and then drill holes into them. Instead, Gary Adkison armed himself with pole spears and spear guns and proceeded to try and attach the tags on the fly at the end of the Shark feeds – and that was the easy part!

Big problem number one were the animals themselves.
No, not because they are pumped with testosterone (see below) and aggressive as a consequence: but boy, are those Bull Sharks tough to pierce – and not for lack of trying!
Suffice to say that the success ratio was dismal, and at the cost of a rapidly diminishing supply of supposedly unbreakable stainless steel shafts, anchors and leaders. What should have been a walk in the park quickly morphed into a logistical and also, motivational nightmare requiring that the team take several trips to Fiji instead of the planned single one.

And then, the gizmos!
All detached prematurely and happily floated away prior to uplinking.
The most spectacular fail sent an e-mail from no less than north of Cairns, prompting a premature Heureka! that quickly morphed into abject depression once Juerg started looking at the depth data that displayed an endless and disheartening series of zeros.
With all that in mind, the results are truly spectacular and a testimony to what somebody with a brain can do even when he basically gets fatally skunked.

My take on the adventure: nothing comes easy and above all, beware of those hi tech gizmos and the panache that goes with them!
Like I said in another context, those things require some major retro engineering, especially when it comes to the attachment! And before you ask: the SPOT tags are at least as unreliable, if for different reasons linked to the problems of establishing adequate connectivity.
But having said that: we may have an idea – keep watching this space!

So, without further ado, here are excerpts from Juerg’s paper.


Adult bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas were monitored with electronic tags to investigate horizontal and vertical movements in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In both locations, C. leucas showed some fidelity to specific coastal areas with only limited horizontal movements away from the tagging sites after tag attachment. Fish tagged in the Bahamas were detected mostly in the upper 2
0 m of the water column in water 25–26° C, whereas C. leucas tagged in Fiji spent most of their time below 20 m in water usually >26° C. The results highlight the importance of coastal inshore habitats for this species.


Ninety per cent of the 20 deployed PSATs uplinked to the Argos satellite system resulting in a cumulative total of 235 days on C. leucas depth and ambient water temperature occupancy and some limited information on movements away from the tagging sites.
These first such data available for large C. leucas expand the knowledge about the ecological niche of this species. In both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, C. leucas showed some fidelity to specific coastal areas and did not move away from these shallow habitats at large scale during the time of tag attachment. Fish in both locations used the water column from the surface down to c. 200 m, but in the Bahamas the species spent most of the time in shallow waters while in bathymetrically less constraining Fijian coastal habitats C. leucas were usually found deeper than 30 m. The results highlight the importance of coastal inshore habitats for this species. Reliable satellite tag performance still faces many challenges (Hays et al., 2007), with premature pop-off being one of the prime reasons for obtaining shorter than planned tracks from marine vertebrates (Chapman et al., 2007; Arrizabalaga et al., 2008). In most cases, it is difficult to identify reliably the reasons for premature detachment (Hays et al., 2007). The tag attachment method chosen in this study to attach pop-off tags to C. leucas from a platform (Bahamas) or by scuba (Fiji) might have resulted in insufficient tag anchoring and consequently a higher rate of premature tag loss. For example, environmental factors such as currents or the fact that the fish to be tagged could move around freely in the water column pose difficulties to the diver when approaching the animal or might affect the accuracy of tag placement.
Nevertheless, data sets obtained via satellite telemetry that span days rather than months or years can still provide meaningful insight into horizontal and vertical movement patterns and behaviour of sharks (Dewar et al., 2004; Chapman et al., 2007; Pade et al., 2009).


Previous research has shown that large-scale movements tend to be comparatively limited in C. leucas with pronounced site fidelity in coastal and continental shelf waters (Kohler et al., 1998; Kohler & Turner, 2001; Tremain et al., 2004; Curtis, 2008).

Resightings and the admittedly limited horizontal movement data obtained from this study support this proposition.
It remains, however, largely unknown why C. leucas show fidelity to certain coastal inshore habitats. A plausible factor that might explain a certain degree of site fidelity in this study is that at both tagging sites, Walker’s Cay and in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, C. leucas have been attracted with food for the purpose of sightings by to
urists. This might have affected the behaviour of the tagged C. leucas in that, for example, fish would not leave the tagging sites on large-scale movements, but remain in the area. The majority of the tagged C. leucas in this study were resighted at the tagging sites indicating indeed some level of site fidelity. None of the C. leucas tracked for >17 days (B1, B4, F4, F6, F9, F11 and F12) with the exception of F11, however, was resighted more than twice (mean = 0・8) in the weeks following tagging, despite the fact that the means of attracting the C. leucas to the site continued. Carcharhinus leucas F11 was resighted most during tag attachment (Table III), but all seven appearances at the tagging site occurred in a relatively narrow time frame (18 October to 3 November 2004) of its entire 53 days track. This, together with results from other studies (Kohler et al., 1998; Kohler & Turner, 2001; Tremain et al., 2004; Curtis, 2008), indicates that tagged C. leucas in this study showed specific horizontal movements.

The finding of tag B2, which was attached to a female C. leucas, floating on the surface in the Stuart Inlet, Florida, at the entrance to the Indian and St Lucie Rivers is noteworthy.
The Indian River Lagoon system is considered a nursery area for different shark species including C. leucas (Snelson & Williams, 1981; Snelson et al., 1984; Curtis, 2008). The light-based longitude estimates indicate that fish B2 moved away from the tagging site in the Bahamas in a westward direction and the tag popped off in waters off the east coast of southern Florida (Fig. 4). Given the lack of accurate geolocation and the fact that this tag was floating on the surface for several days before starting to transmit its position, it is unknown how close to the coast this tag detached from the animal. Despite this finding, it therefore remains unknown whether or not female C. leucas from the Bahamas move to nursery grounds in Florida.
The possibility of such a migratory link to reproductive areas in Florida could be tested conclusively in the future using, for example, acoustic telemetry methods.


Clear diel vertical migration patterns known from other shark species (Weng
& Block, 2004; Sims et al., 2005; Weng et al., 2007; Andrews et al., 2009) were not identified in C. leucas in this study. Although diel patterns were found in some C. leucas from the Bahamas and Fiji, the relatively small differences between day and night mean depths are unlikely to be of biological significance.

Fig. 3. Histograms of mean + s.d. per cent time spent at (a) depth and (b) temperature for Atlantic ( ) and South Pacific ( ) Carcharhinus leucas tagged with pop-off satellite archival tags (PSAT).

The general notion that C. leucas spend the majority of their time in water shallower than 30m (Compagno, 1984) was confirmed for individuals tagged in the shallow waters of the Bahamas, but not for C. leucas tagged in Fiji, where they were recorded below 30 m for most of the time.
Most depth data collected to date come from studies looking at the behaviour of immature C. leucas in estuarine habitats (Simpfendorfer et al., 2005; Curtis, 2008); data on depth preferences of adult C. leucas away from shallow habitats are limited.

The data from this study provide the first evidence that adult C. leucas preferably stay between 30 and 100 m in bathymetrically non-constraining habitats with frequent visits to the surface and only occasionally dive to below 100 m. Dives below 200 m would have been possible in both locations. Defining the northern edge of the Little Bahama Bank, Walker’s Cay is part of the Abacos and the northernmost island of the Bahamas. The shallow waters of the Bahama Banks surrounding the island descend into deep Atlantic Ocean waters a few km north-east of Walker’s Cay. This is contrary to the situation on the southern coast of Viti Levu where the ocean-facing sides of the fringing reefs immediately drop to well below c. 250 m deep waters. Depth and location records obtained from PSATs and direct observation indicate that C. leucas tagged in the Bahamas stayed in shallow waters close to the tagging site, but showed increased diving activity in deeper waters off the Bahama Banks. Such behaviour is similar to what was found for C. leucas tagged on Shark Reef in Fiji where fish spend the majority of their time in the deeper waters just off the fringing reefs on the southern coast of Viti Levu.


The fact that adult C. leucas show a certain degree of site fidelity punctuated by limited migratory movements up and down coastlines makes this apex predator an important species of coastal ecosystems and underpins the need for local and possibly national or even international co-operation.
Estuarine habitats have been determined to be habitats of great concern for coastal sharks, in that these areas continue to suffer from dramatic anthropogenic environmental interactions and destruction. Identifying the movement corridors between or along coasts will therefore help when devising conservation strategies for C. leucas.

And now, to the aforementioned testosterone.
While I was, and still am battling issues of connectivity, Patric has issued a challenge that was accepted and, I believe, brilliantly met by Christie Wilcox of Observations of a Nerd.
Having heard (and believed!) it a thousand times, I consider this an absolute must read! Very, and I mean: VERY well done!

And indeed Patric: thanks Nigel and Discovery for having propagated this stupidity to millions of viewers!

And talking of Bull.
The myth goes one step further, that is, to claim that because of the testosterone, Bull Sharks are particularly aggressive. Certainly not in my experience: among the species I’ve dived with, I consider them among the most circumspect and timid, orders of magnitude less assertive than, say, Silvertips and Galapagoses!
Apparently and contrary to popular myth, the postulated link does not even exist in humans and may even be actually quite the opposite! Like always, it’s probably way more complicated and direct causality can be safely ruled out.

Plus: why, exactly, do bodybuilders dope themselves with testosterone?
Is it because they want to be more aggressive? Just look at how Bull Sharks are built – would it not have been much more plausible to assume that testosterone in Bulls is linked to their spectacular muscle mass?

Anyway, I’m digressing as usual.
All I wanted to say is Bravo Juerg and Bravo Christie!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

About feeding Lemons in Moorea

Well well.

May Monsieur Mourier have an agenda?
Check out his pre-emptive statements about Shark feeding here.

Then, compare to excerpts of this new paper he has co-authored.

Behavioural response of the sicklefin lemon shark Negaprion acutidens to underwater feeding for ecotourism purposes
Eric Clua*, Nicolas Buray, Pierre Legendre, Johann Mourier, Serge Planes

ABSTRACT: The feeding of marine predators is a popular means by which tourists and tour operators can facilitate close observation and interaction with wildlife.
Shark-feeding has become the most developed one around the world in spite of its controversial nature. Amongst other detrimental effects, the long-term aggregation of sharks can modify the natural behaviour of the animals, potentially increase their aggression toward humans, and favour inbreeding. During 949 diving surveys conducted over 44 months, we investigated the ecology and residence patterns of 36 photo-identified adult sicklefin lemon sharks (Negaprion acutidens). The group contained 20 females and 16 males. From this long-term survey, we identified 5 different behavioural groups that we described as “new sharks” (7), “missing sharks” (4), “resident sharks” (13), “unpredictable sharks” (5) and “ghost sharks” (7). In spite of in-and-out movements of some males and females, probably related to mating, the general trend is that residency significantly increased during the study, particularly in males, showing a risk of inbreeding due to the reduction of shark mobility. Intra and inter-specific aggression was also witnessed, leading to an increased risk of potentially severe bites on humans. Our findings suggest the need for a revision of the legal framework of the provisioning activity in French Polynesia, which could include a yearly closure period to decrease shark behavioural modifications due to long-term shark-feeding activities.

From the paper


Large predators, which are potentially dangerous to humans and often feared, account for a substantial proportion of ecotourism activities based on animal sightings.
However, because of their generally elusive nature and locally low population densities, such predators are often difficult to observe. Sharks are shy animals (Bres 1993), and provisioning is necessary to produce reliable and impressive aggregations of animals. The last decade has seen tremendous development of ecotourism based on the sighting of top marine predators (Orams 2002, Topelko & Dearden 2005). The practice of shark-feeding is widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical seas of the world, e.g. in the Bahamas, Fiji, South Africa, Australia and French Polynesia, and it is becoming controversial, with little consensus about how it should be managed.

Deliberate and long-term shark-feeding is suspected to generate problems for both animals and humans (Dobson 2006, Newsome & Rodger 2008).
It may alter the natural behavioural patterns of sharks, generating biological (for the animal themselves) and ecological (for the ecosystem) effects. Provisioning may cause habituation to human contact and increase aggression towards humans by associating divers with food (Burgess 1998, Orams 2002). However, feeding wildlife can be a positive tool for assisting in the conservation of vulnerable and endangered species, through attaching economic value to wildlife and educating tourists about the need for conservation (Bookbinder et al. 1998, Halpenny 2003); it can also increase the probability of a shark encountering a partner as a result of aggregation (Orams 2002).

Despite the controversy, few, if any, comprehensive reports have measured the impact of shark-feeding, which is now widespread and growing around the world.

To date, studies have been conducted on the effect of chumming on white shark Carcharodon carcharias in South Africa (Johnson & Kock 2006, Laroche et al. 2007), as well as sandbar Carcharhinus plumbeus and Galapagos C. galapagensis sharks in Hawaii (Meyer et al. 2009).
These studies all concluded that moderate levels of provisioning of cage-diving ecotourism probably had a minor impact on the behaviour of the sharks and no risk of increased attacks on humans in adjacent areas.

In South Africa, Johnson & Kock (2006) showed that conditioning only arises if white sharks gain significant and predictable food rewards, which only happens if operators contravene permit regulations prohibiting intentional feeding of sharks.
White sharks are lured to the boat with baits (typically, mashed sardines and fish oil; Laroche et al. 2007) that are significantly different from their usual prey in the area, Cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus (Ferreira & Ferreira 1996).

In Hawaii, Meyer et al. (2009) showed that cage-diving activities did not increase the number of attacks on humans, probably due to the fact that the shark tours use a small amount of fish scraps, mimicking the activities of crab fishing vessels which have been operating in the same area for over 40 yr.
In both cases, while some food is used to attract sharks to the cages for observation and photography, the quantities involved are small, so this activity cannot be considered as real ‘provisioning’.

Light baiting is also used at Aliwal Shoal (South Africa) for attracting tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier and allowing encounters with snorkelers in open water (Dicken & Hosking 2009).

However, the available scientific data focus on the economic value of the recreational activity, and do not address its effects on the behaviour of these potentially dangerous sharks (ISAF 2010).
Bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas, another dangerous species (ISAF 2010), have been attracted to an ecotourism site in Beqa (Fiji Islands) since 2002 through a real feeding and conditioning process based on the release of several tuna heads during each dive (E. Clua pers. obs.); here again, however, the only data provided are socio-economic (Brunnschweiler 2010), with no reference to the biological issues of provisioning of carnivorous animals.

Given the controversial nature of shark-feeding, there is a critical need for empirical studies that focus on potentially dangerous sharks, and address both the potential disruption of their natural behaviour, which underpins their resilience, and the increasing risk of fatal attacks on humans (Garrod & Wilson 2006).

In French Polynesia, sharks are fed daily during diving activities. The main species involved, the sicklefin lemon shark Negaprion acutidens, can reach over 3 m in length and is considered to be potentially dangerous to humans (Maillaud & Van Grevelynghe 2005, ISAF 2010). This coastal shark is widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific, from Eastern Africa to French Polynesia. However, very little is known about the ecology of the sicklefin lemon shark in the Central Pacific. Despite its commercial value (Compagno 1984), only a few studies have been conducted in the Indian Ocean (Stevens 1984) and in Western Australia (White et al. 2004) besides a recent global genetic study (Schultz et al. 2008). The ecology of its sister species, the Atlantic lemon shark N. brevirostris, has been well documented during past decades (Gruber 1982, Chapman et al. 2009), mostly in the central Western Atlantic Ocean. However, while its early life has been extensively studied (Morrissey & Gruber 1993, DiBattista et al. 2007), very little is known about the adult stages of N. brevirostris and even less about N. acutidens.

Moorea Island (French Polynesia) is among the few locations worldwide where it is possible and feasible to have daily encounters with several wild adult sicklefin lemon sharks in their natural environment.

This characteristic provided us with an opportunity to investigate the behaviour and residency pattern of an adult population of this reef shark species through daily underwater observations at a provisioning tourism location. Here, we describe the population size and structure of this species, aggregated for ecotourism purposes at a site on the northern outer reef of Moorea Island. We divided the population into co-occurrence groups and describe the residence patterns and behaviour of these groups. We also tested the hypothesis that shark-feeding increases the fidelity of lemon sharks to the site, and discuss the potential long-term effects on population resilience and behaviour, including the risk of increased interactions with humans.

From the


…. Assuming similarity in the natural behaviour of these 2 sister species (Editor: Common and Sicklefin Lemon Sharks), our findings could be linked to an aggregating effect of shark-feeding, which decreases the mobility of animals, mainly the males, and may contribute to increased inbreeding.
This trend may lead to long-term loss of genetic variability in the Polynesian lemon shark populations, even though natural philopatry in N. acutidens, which would have been a detrimental factor, seems to be low (Schultz et al. 2008).

Increasing residency was a general trend for the shark population.
For all groups except Group B, which was composed of animals that disappeared, the linear regressions had positive slopes (Fig. 4), indicating an increase in shark abundance over time, and their site fidelity increased over the 44 mo, particularly for the ‘resident’ subgroups, C1 and C2 (Table 1). This means that, despite some sharks leaving and others
arriving, the number of days with sharks present and the number of sharks at the site both increased. This trend is explained by the increased attraction of sharks by provisioning, suggesting that learning plays a strong role in optimising their food search (Guttridge et al. 2009). Our findings are consistent with similar situations where other elasmobranchs (rays) learned to associate specific locations with food rewards, with detrimental effects on their behaviour, and indirect effects on the surrounding marine ecosystems, leading to the concept of an ‘ecological trap’ (Corcoran 2006, Gaspar et al. 2008, Semeniuk & Rothley 2008).

In the case of lemon sharks, their increased site fidelity can have a negative effect on gene flow, as mentioned previously, and can also affect their role as top predators in the area, as shown for top terrestrial predators such as dragons Varanus komodoensis in the Komodo National Park, where provisioning was eventually banned (Walpole 2001).

Among the negative effects, we observed intraspecific interactions generated by the provision of a limited amount of food.

Not all sharks present during a dive acquired food, and this resulted in exacerbated competition among the animals. This pattern can lead to increasing the number of intraspecific dominance actions and the aggression of sharks to acquire food (Ritter 2001), as shown for rays (Semeniuk & Rothley 2008). Dominance is often driven by the size (length) of the sharks in social groups (Allee & Dickinson 1954, Myrberg & Gruber 1974). During several feeding sessions, the largest resident male, M04, appeared to be the most inquisitive, approaching the divers closer than any other individual did. Since males M07 and M18 were dominant in 2005, M04 definitely acquired increasing dominance behaviour with respect to other individuals, which turned into deliberate aggression towards other males when several of them were present.
As was previously observed in 2005 for its 2 predecessors, from 2006 onwards M04 often arrived in the morning with fresh scars or notches that can be attributed to intraspecific fights (N. Buray pers. obs.). Aggression increased significantly when resident males came back to the feeding site after the mating period, probably in the context of a reorganisation of the hierarchy, as shown by serious wounds on males that were quite different in their severity and locations from those inflicted on females during mating (Fig. 5).

In natural conditions, sicklefin lemon sharks cannot be considered a gregarious species (Stevens 1984), except during the mating period, and animals usually feed separately.
Therefore, intraspecific aggression linked to the feeding process, even though natural among carnivorous animals, can be interpreted as deviant behaviour, exacerbated by human activity.Although managers may consider this process of increasing intraspecific aggression to be acceptable among sharks, it represents a real issue regarding the safety of divers for whom the risk of accidental bites has increased critically (Burgess 1998). Between 1979 and 2001, 47% of shark bites in French Polynesia were experienced in the context of shark-feeding activities (Maillaud & Van Grevelynghe 2005). Although anecdotal, this was confirmed by a serious bite by shark M04 on the left hand, which was not holding any food, of the diver doing the feeding in January 2006 (N. Buray pers. obs.).

The results of this study indicate that in spite of the provisioning activity, several male and female sicklefin sharks seem to have left the study site while others came back to it for mating.
This positive aspect from the perspective of maintaining gene flow between this shark population and adjacent ones is mitigated by the increasing pattern of residency for the overall population during the study. At present, the population seems to be a balanced mix of resident and non-resident individuals, which favours population mixing. However, if the resident sharks increase their numbers and their attachment to the feeding site, group living can generate costs for animals which are normally solitary foragers, such as injuries, predation, increased stress hormone levels and exposure to parasites due to increased transmission rates between individuals (Semeniuk & Rothley 2008).If supplemental feeding can be perceived as an artificial support to sharks by providing easy-to-access resources (Milazzo et al. 2006, Laroche et al. 2007), and can allow increasing energy allocation to other fitness-related activities such as rest and reproduction (Orams 2002), long-term unnatural aggregation can also have long-term fitness consequences for the population.
Because the studied population is small, daily aggregations at the same location could result in increased social interactions and increased mating between close relatives, reinforcing the risk of inbreeding. As lemon sharks are known for their polyandry (Feldheim et al. 2004), the potential negative effect on gene flow linked to the increasing residency pattern might be buffered by the multiple paternity process; this needs to be thoroughly monitored.

This factor, added to the development of aggression and incremental risk of accidental bites to divers, should lead managers to seriously consider a revision of the regulations on shark-feeding in French Polynesia in order to reduce these risks. An annual cessation of the feeding activity for several months, preferably encompassing the mating period, is an obvious solution. Whereas our study allowed us to draw these preliminary conclusions, additional field investigations are required to better understand the long-term effects of provisioning on shark populations.
Further work may also enable us to better understand the risks induced by feeding predators.

Quick ‘n dirty assessment: interesting - but both prejudiced and highly speculative!

But first things first: this is what I like.
Scientists are finally discovering the Shark feeding industry and publishing a first set of baseline studies, of which this is a (I believe: rather poor) example. And although I do not concur with the conclusions, see below, I do commend the authors for having taken the time to compile and analyze a long term set of data. As the always brilliant CJA Bradshaw remarks, monitoring has long been the ugly cousin of the fashionable experimenting and is only now being recognized as an invaluable tool for trying to decipher complex systems where causal relationships are not immediate and thus difficult to manipulate selectively.

Which brings me straight to my principal critique.
Where is the control group, as in a comparable group of Lemons that are not being fed? If they got nothing to compare them to: how can the authors postulate that any of the described phenomena are caused directly by the human interference and not due to chance variability, or to natural fluctuations in population, or to climate fluctuations like ENSO or the like?

But let’s quickly examine the allegations.

The observed increased residency may lead to reduced gene flow and inbreeding.
Indeed, maybe! But many Shark species, among which Lemons, do wander off during mating season and indeed, so did the studied animals! The increased residency during the remainder of the year is utterly irrelevant in terms of gene flow as the animals do not mate during that time – or are we to believe that Lemon Sharks may engage in protracted dating prior to having sex?
Plus – was the increased residency the direct consequence of the feeding, see above?

Increased intra-specific aggression.
Here, the authors blame the limited amount of food leading to exarcerbated competition; and on the other hand, they seem to postulate (?) that a higher concentration of resident Sharks led to more hierarchical fights and subsequent wounds in males.
Probably! But having witnessed how fast Sharks recover from horrific wounds contracted during the mating season, what is the point? Did any of the bitten Sharks die or end up being permanently inconvenienced as a consequence - and how does that compare to the “natural” mortality and/or bite frequency of non fed Lemon Sharks?

Plus, what’s that tale about M04?
M04 often arrived in the morning with fresh scars or notches (that were hence not contracted during feeding time!) that can be attributed to intraspecific fights (N. Buray pers. obs.). Interesting – but is it science?
Knowing that all individual Sharks have different characters: was he maybe just a notorious brawler – and not a very successful one since it was him, the supposedly dominant Shark, coming back with those wounds and not his assumed victims? And who did he brawl with: females or males?

Increased inter-specific aggression - what is the other species: humans?
If so, we learn that 47% of shark bites in French Polynesia occur during Shark feeds and that M04 bit a feeder in the hand. Both, we learn, prove that the risk of accidental bites has increased critically.

Well, gee, what a mind-boggling insight!
Tremendous development of shark dives is leading to more bites!
I’ve blogged about it in extenso here and don’t need to repeat myself more than that: the precondition for a Shark bite is that a human and a Shark be in the same place at the same time (hellooooo…) and thus, feeding sharks does indeed increase the risk of getting bitten and more Shark feeds will indeed lead to more bites!
This is so trivial, it is painful!

By the same token, the act of commuting in aeroplanes increases the risk of fatal plane crashes - yes, believe it or not: it does!!!
So going back to square one: do we prohibit aviation as a consequence? No, we ask that anybody engaging in the activity, especially commercially, follow a regimen of strict safety protocols!

Now, it just so happen that I’ve done a multitude of Shark dives in French Polynesia.
Many of them were Shark feeds with mainly Greys and Silvertips - and yes, I’ve also witnessed several of the Moorea Lemon Shark feeds.

Any Shark bites?
Certainly: four of them, one by a Silvertip and three by Grey Reefs!
The cause: multi-user sites combined with Gallic panache and improvisation: poor Shark diving briefings leading to unpredictable behavior of the clients, ever changing procedures and feeders, creative chaos and heaps of bravado, zero protection of the feeders and clients alike – in brief, the recipe for certain disaster!
With that in mind, the described bite comes at no surprise whatsoever!

Was that bite by M04 really aggression – and if so, due to what? Did the behavior of the feeder piss off the Shark? Did the Shark mistake him for a competitor? Is aggression really the most plausible explanation?
Here in Fiji, all of our clients have to wear dark gloves. The reason is that anybody without gloves will get nailed by the ever greedy Giant Trevally and Red Bass who mistake the pasty hands sticking out of dark wetsuits for bait. This is not aggression, this is a mistake!
Would it not be much more plausible to assume that M04 might have made the exact same mistake when in a hurry due to a competitive situation?

Bull Sharks are not Sicklefin Lemons and anybody who knows about Sharks knows that different Shark species have very different behavioral traits and that one cannot make generic statements across species - and certainly not make comparisons to, of all animals, Komodo Dragons!

Case in point, this stellar interview with Aleks Makjkovic about her research with Caribbean Reefs in the Bahamas.

Keeping in mind the above caveat, this is what we do in Fiji in order to increase the safety of everybody:
- This is a one operator site, meaning that we can enforce a uniform protocol that is always highly predictable – for the animals, not us!
- By the same token, the people feeding are always the same, to the point that they have developed personal relationships with individual Sharks
- Feeders wear chain mail gloves and clients, full body dark wetsuits and black gloves
- There is separation between the large Bull Sharks and the customers (remember the precondition above!)
- There are extensive dive briefings so that the clients know exactly how to behave and don’t startle the animals
- There is ample food and the animals are conditioned to follow a set routine, meaning that we are trying to minimize competitive pressure. We also always control the amount of food being introduced, meaning that when we sense any incipient tension, we can discontinue the feed and wait until everybody has calmed down again.

Could some of it be replicated in Moorea! Sure!
Long story short: the obvious solution is not the annual cessation of the feeding activity for several months that implies the necessity to re-establish the feed, the relationships and the training of the animals - it is to improve the feeding protocols!

As to the other grievances about inbreeding and intra-specific aggression: not with our Bulls!

We’ve been keeping highly detailed tabs for 7 years now and none of the Bulls has taken up residency, let alone established a territory necessitating defense against conspecifics.
Instead, although the numbers continue to increase, we’re being faced with a continuous rotation of individuals who clearly lead a free life and are not dependent on Shark Reef for sustenance. Plus, they all vanish during the mating season which is a good indication for them doing plenty of walkabout and mixing of gene pools once they get horny!

The tally:
Bulls biting feeders: zero;
Bulls biting clients: zero;
Bulls biting Bulls: one documented case (we always have at least one camera rolling) where two homed in on a Tuna head and one very obviously missed the head and bit the other – yes, camera rolling! We have certainly never witnessed a single case of a Bull Shark resorting to biting in order to assert its dominance, and this in thousands of Shark dives – but then again, it’s a different species.
Fatalities among our 100 individually named animals, of a total of approx 300: only Jaws who has been missing since 2006.
All others are friendly, well fed and above all, locally protected - and I believe, perfectly happy!

Hence, what is the relevance of this paper to what we do and to Shark feeding in general?
You be the judge of that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wolfgang and the Hypocrites

Is somebody trying to kill Mark Addison’s poor Tiger Sharks – again ?
No, this time, it’s the very same Mark Addison torturing his own animals - and lemme tell you, I’ve seen other, truly horrific pictures of Tigers completely entangled in those steel cables he deploys! And so has he!

Huge Kudos to Wolfgang for breaking the story.
I can attest to the fact that the man has been torn between his personal loyalty and the desire to help the animals he loves, and that he has desperately tried to resolve the matter silently by contacting the concerned operators. Hopefully, his courageous post will have the desired effect and the shenanigans will stop. And if not…
Bravo Wolf for being ethically incorruptible and for always putting the well being of your beloved Sharks first!

Which begs the question, are we to believe that he was the only person to witness Addison’s despicable cruelty?
As a friend writes far too many underwater names let all manner of garbage happen with sharks, take the shot, and then shill their images online for a little name recognition and a pat on the head at DEMA without saying a thing. Patric’s re-post is of course spot on : just look at the shenanigans that are being perpetrated at Tiger beach, and to a lesser extent, at Guadalupe!
Indeed – anybody wanting to point fingers better perform a quick self check beforehand!

Case in point, the retinue of Tiger Shark petting bimbettes.
They were all CC’d on Wolfgang’s e-mail messages to Mark, every single one of them, and they all saw the revolting pictures! Did a single one voice her so publicly professed love for the animals or take the required moral stance and get personally involved in the matter? Take a wild guess – indeed, not a single squeak! That is, apart from a righteous public statement after Wolf published his post – not impressed!
Sadly, I’m not even surprised – having some backbone, speaking up and thus taking a modicum of personal risk that may well result in the loss of the coveted freebies is very different from proffering self promoting bullshit and blasting anonymous perpetrators in far away countries whilst always trying to look pretty in the process!
Names? No need to dwell, they know who they are and I’m sure that you can guess – but next time somebody tells you to take the pledge, or the like, you may want to ask some specific questions first!

As for Blue Wilderness, meh.
Great website and great self promotion – including the obligated larmoyant pro-Shark and anti-this and -that videos featuring the shark-grabbing bimbos!
Prima vista, certainly the place to go and the operator to choose!

Now, if only the man would walk the talk.
I had a first hunch when the above Tiger shark killing story broke two years ago, with a lot of righteousness, whining and the vocal support of the bimbettes. Net result of the brouhaha?

Next, I notice his name in this description of Into the Shark Bite. Despite of all the subsequent spinning by friends and apologists, this is Shark porn pure and simple, the lowest possible level of Shark media. Yup ABC4 is a cool personable guy but when he isn’t invited to strum his stupidity at shark parties, he’s a professional animal pornographer (producer of Deadly Waters no less!) and fuck one’s own conservation sound bites! Do you believe that Addison didn’t know what he was doing, and with whom?
As I once said: Pecunia non olet!

And now this.
This is certainly nothing intentional – but how can a Shark operator cause this and not stop this procedure immediately? This has happened several times!
I mean, seriously, how can anybody in our industry be so cold hearted!
How utterly disgusting!

Luckily, as always, clients have a choice.
Walter Bernardis of African Watersports cares and is trying to do something, see Wolfgang's post.
Give your business to him, not Addison.

PS: simply brilliant wrap up by Patric here!
And the Chinese whispers about Wolfgang being the cause of the problem?
Really, how utterly pathetic and underhanded, simply disgusting!

I'm done with this thing.
Fix the gizmo. If Walter’s solution doesn’t work, find one!
Stop enabling Shark porn!

And since we’re at it – Sharks are not underwater scooters!

PS2 Felix' take of Into the Shark Bite here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Housekeeping!

Still facing connectivity issues!

Will be hopefully sorted out soon, keep watching this space!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sharky Tale from Switzerland!

Who would have thought – a Swiss Shark tale!

Here it is, enjoy!

Schweiz aktuell vom 14.09.2010

Just kidding!
The throat illness is Swiss German, a barbaric (!) relic left over by the Alamanni after having battled the Romans in southern Europe. And the guy proffering gibberish from in front of the Shark replicas is our dear friend Juerg in what appears to be the alpine reincarnation of George – only smarter and, I am told, much, much better looking!
But I’m digressing as usual.

The tale is about a little boy from Einsiedeln smack in the middle of the Alps.
He released a small helium balloon with his address and after several months, somebody sent it back from Maui, Hawaii! And it gets even more spectacular: an attached drawing shows how the finder caught a Shark and retrieved the balloon from its stomach!

Turns out that on that day, the prevailing wind would have carried the balloon towards the Persian Gulf – meaning that the alas unspecified Shark would have had to gobble it up there before swimming all the way to Maui!
And Juerg says: possible!

I say: Ganz härzig – aber chamer würkli sones Briefli naa drü Mönet imene Haimage no läse?
First correct translation wins a Fiji Shark Dive!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here's to Shark Diver!

Back online and the first post goes to Shark Diver.

They are soon going to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
We say Kudos and very well done! Apart from being one of the premier shark diving operations in the USA with a special focus on Guadalupe, they run Underwater Thrills which is undoubtedly the very best Shark diving blog out there.

Plus, they are headed by one incredibly smart guy.
Over the years, we have become first blog pals and then friends, and he’s one of the first persons I will consult whenever I have the need to bounce off some sharky idea . And let's not forget some of those toothy posts where both of us have tried to do something for the industry and the animals! His support and advice have been invaluable and contributed big time to shaping our business into one of Fiji’s finest and most successful Shark diving operators.

So here’s to Patric and Shark Diver!
And knowing the man, here’s to celebrating over a nice bottle of fine wine next time we meet!

Patric: Cheval Blanc or Château Pétrus?

PS very nice answer by Patric here - as expected, it's gonna be the Château Pétrus!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick one!

Sorry for the silence.

I'm experiencing technical problems.
This is hopefully temporary & I shall then be able to post again.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Swarming Tiger Sharks???

C’mon guys…

This video apparently depicts hundreds of Tiger Sharks chasing baitfish in Oz.

Like every year, baitfish aggregate on the Ozzie (and also, Florida) coast and are being hunted by small Sharks: mainly Spinners (C. brevipinna) and Blacktips (C. limbatus) and granted, sometimes Bulls and Tigers too.
Tigers have broad blunt heads, comparatively tiny pectoral fins, very long tails and a distinctive, slow and determined swimming style – is that what you can see here?

Time to get out of the couch and do some diving again!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ron and Valerie on CNN!



Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei

Wednesday, September 8 at 1930
Thursday, September 9 at 1130
Saturday, September 11 at 1900
Sunday, September 12 at 0330 & 1630
Monday, September 13 at 0230

Bangkok and Jakarta
Wednesday, September 8 at 1830
Thursday, September 9 at 1030
Saturday, September 11 at 1800
Sunday, September 12 at 0230 & 1530
Monday, September 13 at 0130

This week's TALK ASIA travels to Sydney as host Anna Coren dives into the underwater world of renowned shark conservationists Ron and Valerie Taylor, a couple who have spent a lifetime working to show the public the real creature that they say is often misunderstood . They explain their fascination with the ancient predators, discuss their role in the hit film ‘Jaws' and analyse the increasing number of shark attacks in Australia.

For the past five decades, this pair of conservationists has tried to demystify the terrifying perception of sharks by documenting their real behaviour. As filmmakers they have won multiple awards for their work, notably as the first people to film great white sharks outside of the safety of a dive cage. Ron says that he is fully aware of the risks involved: "There's always an element of danger because you are never ever 100% certain of what they are going to do, even the harmless ones. It's possible for them to make a mistake and have a little nibble or bite. But we know that they're not interested in eating us. If they do make a bite, it's accidental."

Ron and Valerie were once spearfishing champions but traded their spears for cameras. "I now do my shooting with my camera and it was a great sense of achievement to capture a beautiful sequence of sharks or fish or manta rays with my camera, so I'm fulfilling my hunting instinct with a camera," Ron says.

Valerie explains the distinctive features that continue to draw her to sharks: "I love the excitement of working with them. The shark is a species. I respect them and admire them. I wouldn't say that I actually love them although I have met a few that are very loving. Real sweethearts. The big tiger sharks that come up to you all friendly and nice. And you've got to like them. You really do."

Their expertise bought Steven Spielberg calling when he needed help with his blockbuster ‘Jaws', but the couple were dismayed when the movie stoked public fear of sharks. "We thought it was just going to be a B-grade Hollywood movie that wouldn't get much exposure," Ron says. Valerie adds: "It was a big surprise to all of us the way that people reacted after seeing the film. After Alfred Hitchcock's ‘The Birds', they didn't get terrified of birds and nobody expected to see a gorilla on the Empire State Building but they expected to see the big shark."

The Taylors, now both in their seventies, still put on their diving suits and carry their own cameras. Valerie tells Anna why she feels more comfortable in the water: "It's actually easier to dive at my age than it is to walk. I get into the water and I'm 25. Up here I'm 75."

The Taylors' interview with TALK ASIA will be available online at after the first airing.

Viking Excellence!

Bravo Lill!

She has just been crowned Norway’s beste underwannsfotograf!
Way to go!

I did check the winning images and what can I say.
Norway’s underwater landscapes are what they are, and managing to paint in colors whilst avoiding backscatter in what appears to be the worst viz, ever, is indeed a major achievement!
So, here’s to Viking toughness, persistence and technical ingenuity – and to itsy bitsy wee crabs!

Having said that, the Bulls are waiting!
Next year, yes?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mangroves for Fiji!

Well here it is - and yes, we’re mighty proud of ourselves!
Might we even be the first to do this?

This is the result of a dinner conversation with a fellow ecotourism operator.
We were musing about the necessity and the advantages of offsetting one’s carbon footprint and how it would be nice if we could do it locally instead of financing the international carbon trade. Having subsequently inquired, I discovered that nobody in Fiji is currently offering any such opportunity and having explored the international options, I was frankly dismayed by their apparent pervasive lack of transparency and by the fact that they came across as being principally geared towards making money rather than being aimed at propagating genuine climate change mitigation.

Despite of our best efforts, we at BAD emit uncomfortably high amount of greenhouse gases.
This is principally due to our need for operating our vessels and vehicle, and to a high power bill stemming from our compressor and various air conditioning units we need to run to protect our electrical hardware. Inevitable as they are, those emissions remain highly disturbing, and it would have been nice to find an elegant way of becoming carbon neutral, the more as we deeply care for the environment and market ourselves as an ecotourism operator.

But Carbon Offsetting is controversial as it always carries the stigma of being a convenient escape mechanism for not assuming responsibility.
Critics claim that instead of being forced to tackle the root of the problem and reduce their carbon footprint, culprits are instead being encouraged to take the easy way out by paying somebody else for cleaning up the ecological mess they have caused.
With that in mind, we set out to become an integral part of a domestic solution.

Our choice quickly fell onto Mangrove Restoration.
As a friend writes, these are more than just muddy plants, they are natures multi million year perfect solution to coastal erosion, fish nurseries, carbon sequestration, and more.
Mangroves are a largely overlooked excellent carbon sink that sequester multiple amounts of carbon when compared to tropical and temperate forests. They are also vital habitats that not only protect the coasts against tsunamis, hurricanes and Sea level change, but directly benefit the adjacent reefs by exporting life-building carbon and above all, by being the nursery areas of countless marine organisms from crustaceans all the way to Sharks.

In that sense, restoring mangroves complements ideally what we have been doing all along.
We believe that any dive shop needs to assume the stewardship of the reefs it dives and from where it obtains its sustenance, and Mangals are essential extensions of those habitats. The project also dovetails beautifully with our ongoing conservation projects that stipulate that in order to attain sustainable results, one has to involve and compensate the stakeholders.

The rest has been, well, a process.
We are obviously not climate change and carbon offsetting specialists and had to first obtain the required know how. Following that, we had to explore practical ways of attaining tangible results, this against the backdrop of the reservations of the public against what is still regarded as being worthless and unattractive, and against the interests of coastal developers that continue to destroy Mangroves for tourism developments.

We were lucky insofar as 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity.
This has prompted the IUCN to roll out MESCAL and the Department of Forestry, to decide to plant 1 million trees, among which mangroves, to commemorate the event. They have been invaluable supporters, as have been our traditional partners in the Fisheries Department and least but not least, our friend Helen of Marine Ecology Consulting who has already been quietly restoring Mangroves for a very long time indeed and was willing to share her unequaled know how in the matter, as have several friends at the USP.

As of today, we have run a successful pilot project and sponsored several more, and are rapidly approaching the status of being the first completely Carbon Neutral Business under this project.
We will however not stop there: once we have managed to completely offset our direct emissions, we will then offset the carbon emissions our customers have incurred when traveling to Fiji, making this an ongoing undertaking.

Having done the legwork, we have decided that we might as well share the project with equally intentioned industry peers but also, with other eco-friendly businesses in Fiji.
Named Mangroves for Fiji, this is now a country-wide undertaking aimed at elevating Fiji’s diving industry to the next level. Like last year’s Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project, it is open to anybody and our role in it will be simply to act as facilitators, with no gain whatsoever to us apart from having done the right thing.
Having assembled a small project team, they stand by to assist.

Please take the time to explore the website.
Kudos to web designer Shivam of Niuwave Media and to our charming administrator Lexi for having created a first-class product! As I said, we’re not specialists – but to the best of our knowledge, the technical information contained therein is factually correct. Does it strike you as being surprisingly simple? Actually, if one boils it down to the essentials, it is!
Also, planting Mangroves is really not rocket science – anybody can do it!

Comments, suggestions and amendments?
Always welcome, the latter best directly to the project team – please bear with us, this is still somewhat progress in action!
Thank you!

To our Fijian readers.
If you are a dive shop or a smaller eco-friendly business, please feel free to contact us and join! If you are eager to do something for Fiji and earn some money in the process by becoming a mangrove planter, please read the relevant pages and get in contact! And please, tell your friends and community!
Let’s all work together towards making this a better Fiji!

Anybody want to replicate this elsewhere?
Please contact us and we will be happy to share our website for free. We’ve also secured the URLs of several Pacific locations and will be happy to pass them on to you – maybe we can all together establish a Mangroves for Oceania? Could this even eventually become a template for the dive industry in all tropical and subtropical locations? This can get as big as we want!
Time, as always, will tell.

Enjoy Mangroves for Fiji.