River habitats

Where there is water there are sharks

Information about the presence, behaviour and ecology of species is often available from local people. This subproject aims at exploring the potential of local and traditional ecological knowledge to identify shark river habitats in Fiji, to learn how locals regard and use sharks, and to capture ancestral legends and myths that shed light on the relationship between local people and these animals.

In order to find out more about sharks in Fijian rivers, we have been documenting traditional
and local ecological knowledge of local people living along the major rivers and collecting data on the occurrence of sharks in rivers on Fiji. To date, interviews with representatives from villages, communities and fishing settlements associated with seven riverine areas on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu confirmed the presence of sharks in estuaries and rivers on Fiji. Locals consume shark meat as a source of protein, but sharks also have a rich background in ancestral stories and play an important part in Fijian myths and legends.

In addition to exploring local ecological knowledge, selected rivers are fished for sharks. This has confirmed the presence of juvenile bull sharks in the targeted rivers. Future projects will include tracking these animals in their nursery grounds.