Seasonal and Long-Term Changes in Relative Abundance of Bull Sharks from a Tourist Shark Feeding Site in Fiji

Published on 27. January 2011.

Juerg M. Brunnschweiler, Harald Baensch.


Shark tourism has become increasingly popular, but remains controversial because of major concerns originating from the need of tour operators to use bait or chum to reliably attract sharks. We used direct underwater sampling to document changes in bull shark Carcharhinus leucas relative abundance at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, a shark feeding site in Fiji, and the reproductive cycle of the species in Fijian waters. Between 2003 and 2009, the total number of C. leucas counted on each day ranged from 0 to 40. Whereas the number of C. leucas counted at the feeding site increased over the years, shark numbers decreased over the course of a calendar year with fewest animals counted in November. Externally visible reproductive status information indicates that the species’ seasonal departure from the feeding site may be related to reproductive activity.

PLoS ONE 6(1): e16597. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016597

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