THERE'S hope for Fiji's declining shark population, says shark campaigner Manoa Rasigatale.
"If the world has a conscience and sees the protection of sharks through, our sharks will live to protect our marine ecosystem," he said after delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted to upgrade protection for the oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks.
He said history has shown that sharks — which are being fished for their fins for the Chinese shark fin soup market — are worth more alive than dead.
Shark-related diving contributed $F75.4million to Fiji's economy in 2010, according to a survey by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Western Australia.
"Sharks are one of the most significant creatures tourists wish to see when scuba diving," said Mr Rasigatale.
"These animals are also an indicator of healthy coral reef ecosystems."