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Fiji Time: 10:49 PM on Sunday 20 April

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'Dramatic drop' in sharks

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, May 21, 2012

THE weekly shark count by a conservation group in the Mamanuca Islands has revealed a reduced number of sharks in the region of island resorts.

The Mamanuca Environment Society's (MES) last shark population count in April showed there were only a total of 40 species of white and black tip sharks in the region.

MES media officer Emosi Lasaqa said, "Sharks are an important part of the ecosystem. Many are scavengers and help keep the water free of garbage and disease. By nature, they feed on the weak and help keep the gene pool strong. They also feed on certain species, keeping balance by preventing overpopulation

"The findings or significance of this shark count is that we now realise that there is a dramatic decrease in the shark population within the region and this really alarming," said Mr Lasaqa.

"We are trying to do our best to educate villagers in Mamanuca that protecting sharks is very important."

"MES through its programs engaged resorts including staff and guests on weekly presentation while we visit communities on a fortnightly basis through meetings and training workshops.

"This is something new to Fiji as coordinated by Coral Alliance through their Shark Drive for the Fiji Islands and s MES will work with stakeholders to organise it as an annual event in the Mamanucas."