Survey records low shark population

Vatuvara Foundation and WCS researchers carry out their survey in Northern Lau waters. Picture: SUPPLIED

Vatuvara Foundation and WCS researchers carry out their survey in Northern Lau waters. Picture: SUPPLIED

Update: 4:12PM A SURVEY conducted by the Vatuvara Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society recorded low populations of sharks in North East Cakaudrove and Northern Lau waters.

However, the survey revealed that remote locations of the islands, especially the uninhabited Vatuvara Island, provided some refuge from artisanal and commercial shark fisheries that occurred in other parts of Fiji.  

“Given the low number of sharks in Fiji waters, including in remote islands, the Government regulation on sharks and rays that have been drafted by the Ministry of Fisheries will be critical for the recovery of these populations,” the survey found. 

Vatuvara Foundation director Katy Miller said, “adult and juvenile humphead wrasses were seen around Vatuvara Island and given the restricted habitat of these and their vulnerability to fishing, the reef surrounding Vatuvara Island should be protected”. 

“The foundation has already shared the results back to the local communities and is working with them to explore options to protect these endangered species and their habitats,” the report stated. 

The ‘Marine Biological Survey of Coral Reefs in the North Lau Groups’ was conducted in May last year within the waters of Vatuvara, Kaibu, Yacata, Adavaci and Kanacea in Cakaudrove and Northern Lau.