In a study of shark populations in Fiji’ marine reserve, the researchers found that the number of sharks in Namena — a 60-square-kilometer reserve located on the southern coast of Fiji’s Vanua Levu Island — is two to four times greater than in adjacent areas where fishing is permitted.
Using non-destructive stereo video technology, researchers recorded data with remote underwater video systems at eight sites within the reserve and eight outside the reserve at both shallow and deeper depths. The result provides evidence that Fiji’s largest marine reserve benefits reef sharks. Shark populations are declining worldwide due to the demand for shark products, particularly fins for the Asian markets. As demand for shark products grows, higher prices are driving some Fiji locals to catch sharks. Fiji shark populations are also vulnerable to foreign fishing fleets. That’s why it is important to know effective marine management strategies should be in place to protect the sharks and the ecosystems they inhabit.