FIJI NEWS

Vice-President in shark fight

By TALEBULA KATE The Vice-President of the Marshall Islands, Senator Tony DeBrum, is in the country to engage with his Fijian counterparts the need to raise awareness for shark protection
19 Jul 2012 10:11

Shark advocate Manoa Rasigatale (left), with Marshall Islands Vice-President Tony deBrum at Holiday Inn yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

By TALEBULA KATE

The Vice-President of the Marshall Islands, Senator Tony DeBrum, is in the country to engage with his Fijian counterparts the need to raise awareness for shark protection in Fiji and the Pacific.
Living sharks are important to the environment, tourism economy and cultures of the Pacific, Mr DeBrum said.
The target audience he said in promoting shark protection are children and students.
“It is very important to engage youngsters, school children and tertiary students  since they are the future leaders of tomorrow and for them to make wise decisions as far as the protection of sharks is concerned,” Mr DeBrum said. He said this effort will be successful if relevant authorities and stakeholders work together for the conservation of this marine life.
Advocating the need to promote shark conservation, Mr DeBrum, said his government had placed a ban on catching and killing sharks which came into effect last October.
Mr DeBrum said his country is now home to the largest shark sanctuary in the world.  He said the law requires any shark caught to be released.
It was not easy to enact the law therefore they had to seek support from traditional leaders of which Iroiji (equivalent to Ratu) Michael Kabua, a chief in the Marshall Islands, gave his support for shark protection.
“Shark survival is threatened by human-related activities and heavy penalties and fines will be imposed if someone is engaged in the commercial trade of these beautiful sea creatures” he said.
He said sharks balanced the ecology of the ocean and shorelines.
The Senator said that much of our Pacific Island traditions have a very prominent place for the shark through stories and legends therefore traditions, development, conservation and education stakeholders need to work together in an effort to do away with the catching of sharks.
Mr Debrum is in the country for the three-day regional conference on local governments for climate change which ended yesterday.




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