Characteristics of the shark fisheries of Fiji

paper8Published on 02. December 2015

Characteristics of the shark fisheries of Fiji

Kerstin B. J. Glaus, Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, Patricia Burkhardt-Holm, William T. White, Juerg M. Brunnschweiler


Limited information is available on artisanal and subsistence shark fisheries across the Pacific. The aim of this study was to investigate Fiji’s inshore fisheries which catch sharks. In January and February 2013, 253 semi-directive interviews were conducted in 117 villages and at local harbours on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Ovalau and a number of islands of the Mamanuca and Yasawa archipelagos. Of the 253 interviewees, 81.4% reported to presently catch sharks, and 17.4% declared that they did not presently catch any sharks. Of the 206 fishers that reported to catch sharks, 18.4% targeted sharks and 81.6% caught sharks as bycatch. When targeted, primary use of sharks was for consumption or for sale. Sharks caught as bycatch were frequently released (69.6%), consumed (64.9%) or shared amongst the community (26.8%). Fishers’ identification based on an identification poster and DNA barcoding revealed that at least 12 species of elasmobranchs, 11 shark and one ray species (Rhynchobatus australiae) were caught. This study, which is the first focused exploration of the shark catch in Fiji’s inshore fisheries, suggests that the country’s artisanal shark fisheries are small but have the potential to develop into larger and possibly more targeted fisheries.

Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 17556, doi:10.1038/srep17556



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