Mike Neumann of Beqa Divers, that organizes the Fiji Shark Dive often describes his ventures as a conservation project masquerading as a dive shop. His ultimate goal: protection the sharks of Fiji.
Started in 2003, the Fiji Shark Project resulted in the establishment of Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji’s first MPA dedicated to researching and preserving a local shark population ,and has since expanded into a local and global shark conservation and shark research venture.
Luckily, the indigenous Fijian population has a traditional cultural respect of sharks, and coastal shark populations are relatively intact. The project approach has always involved and compensated local stakeholders, ensuring the support of the local community and… since 2003 the local fishermen have witnessed a miraculous recovery of their fishing yields outside of the reserve. From the start, the project also included habitat conservation.
Obviously challenging, this approach resulted in an expansion of the shark protected area, encompassing all of the reefs along approx. 30 miles of the southern coast of Viti Levu. Dubbed the Fiji Shark Corridor, this area comprises the Marine Protected Area’s of Shark Reef, Lake Reef and Combe Reef.
But how this shark feeding affected the sharks and their behaviour? Researchers Juerg Brunnschweiler and Adam Barnett just published a paper about the Fiji Shark Dive and the Shark Corridor.
Just as we do, Mike Neumann likes to keep matters clear and simple, so we state the conclusions as cited on his blog:
- The Bull Sharks remain wild animals;
- Effects at large spatial and temporal scales appear minimal (consistent with all research into provisioned Sharks, i.e. that there may well be conditioning on site but that typically, the long term migrations and life history in general remain largely unaffected),
- Feeding does not appear to significantly effect the sharks’ patterns during the 24 hrs of the day, and
- The same goes for their propensity, or lack of, to approach humans.
- Long-term exposure to feeding does not appear to cause any conditioning in terms of dependence on that food source.
- The Shark Corridor appears to confer a solid degree of protection.
So: shark diving and feeding can play a sustainable crucial role in shark conservation!
You can read the full blog entry at:
and the paper at