Tiger Shark and BLR shark shandler, Ratu Tumano, at the shark provisioning site in Beqa Lagoon
As apex and meso-predators, sharks fulfil a key role in maintaining the balance of the ocean by keeping other populations in check. However, their life history strategy of slow growth, late maturity and few offspring makes them extremely vulnerable to exploitation. Human impacts, such as overfishing and excessive bycatch, shark finning and habitat destruction; are threatening many shark species which are suffering documented declines.
The Beqa Lagoon area is notoriously known for the thriving shark populations, the shark feeding dives in the area, and the local shark gods. Due to the overarching significance of sharks in this area, there is vital need to actively advocate for conservation of sharks. With research documenting the sharks’ behaviour, insights into their ecology and potential impact of the feeding activities will be gained. These understandings will allow reciprocating the information with both the locals and visitors for education and awareness purposes, as well as to the operators of the dive for better management of the activity, and alleviating potential detrimental impact to the sharks and the environment.