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1217 sharks in Rewa River

Vilimaina Naqelevuki
Saturday, March 03, 2018

A RESEARCH found that 1217 hammerhead sharks are in the Rewa River.

This was confirmed by head of Marine Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Professor Ciro Rico, who was part of the research program during a presentation at USP.

"In the lapse of six to 18 months, we were able to obtain 1217 hammerhead sharks captures, a total of 952 were individual sharks and close to 101 recaptures.

"We were able to carry out the recaptures because of the key tags. 163 sharks were captured by local fishermen as bycatch and they were given to us for DNA analysis." The research was conducted by USP, University of Bremen in Germany, Leibniz centre for Tropical Marine Ecology and Projects Abroad in Fiji.

The survey is titled Endangered Hammerheads and Vulnerable Bull Sharks Find Life And Sanctuary In Fiji. Prof Rico said they had to conduct a research to find out if the Rewa River had a nursery of hammerhead sharks.

"We were only able to document only an aggregation, but we couldn't actually be sure if everything else corresponds to a nursery area. In order to answer that question, we set up a research project that was conducted from September 2014 to March 2016 over 18 months."

He said the team set up gill nets for at least 40 hours per week at the Rewa River from sunset until midnight.

The gill net was about 100 metres in length by 3 metres in height and checked every 15-20mins to prevent sharks from drowning.

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