The Shark-Free Marina Initiative is expanding its international reach with the islands of Fiji embracing the concept of "no caught sharks allowed" at Fijian marinas.
According to a press release from Stuart Gow, director of Matava, a leading eco-resort on the Fijian island of Kadavu:
KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS - 14 July 2009 - Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco-Adventure Resort and Bite Me Gamefishing Charters are proud to take a world wide leading role in the the international Shark-Free Marina Initiative. The international Shark-Free Marina Initiative works with marinas, boaters and fishermen to develop policy designed to protect a vital component of the oceans health, our sharks.
Matava Director Stuart Gow said "We have worked hard over the past few months in Fiji at certifying many marinas and charter fishing boats as 'Shark-Free Marinas' and so far have more than any other country worldwide. Matava and Bite Me Gamefishing Charters was the first in Fiji to sign up and is actively promoting, coordinating and distributing information about the Initiative. We are working towards when Fiji can be the first country to be proud to announce itself as a 'Shark-Free Marinas' Country!"
In not allowing caught sharks at marinas, the Shark-Free Marina Initiative promotes "catch and release" techniques for sport fishermen. It's an incremental step that has proven effective with other over-fished species. Over 500,00 sharks are lost each year to sportfishing. It's a big number, although not as big as the 40 to 100 million sharks taken commercially. But it's a good start in changing the mindset of people directly connected to the ocean. Their attitudes can be leveraged in the future for other important long-term strategies.