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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spreading a Message of Hope

By Seru Saumakidonu, July 20, 2012

Crewmember Seru giving shark presentation in his village. Photo: Simon AgerCrewmember Seru giving shark presentation in his village. Photo: Simon AgerBeing a volunteer for the past 5 years has really taught me a lot and opened up my mind. From sailing traditionally on our vaka, Uto Ni Yalo, to joining the Sea Shepherd crew on the Brigitte Bardot, which is a dream come true. We are like-minded for sure. I have been involved with our locally managed marine reserve in my village for the past 5 years and for me to have the opportunity to share this experience with Sea Shepherd and the people of Vanuatu is something that I always wanted to do. Advising our people of the South Pacific about the importance of marine protected areas (MPA’s) is important work.

Travelling through Vanuatu, I was able to talk to people from villages and schools who were very supportive about our awareness campaign. As most of them didn’t know about MPA’s, I was able to share with my community the personal benefits we have gained from our Marine Protected Areas in my village of Kubulau in Vanualevu, Fiji.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Culture of Conservation

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fiji Fishing – The Local Experience

By Sarah Fisk, July 28, 2012

Lemon Shark. Photo: Erwin FiliusLemon Shark. Photo: Erwin FiliusFrom the beginning, my role on this campaign has been as a liaison with Fiji and the Pacific Islands.  I have a small place in Fiji and I have been coming here since 2003.

I have many friends in my community, locals and ex-pats from various places.  Most of us love to go out on the sea in boats surfing, diving, snorkeling, getting from place to place: it is the way of life here – the ocean is as much a part of where we live as the land.  And it is a source of livelihood – deep-sea fishing tours, dive operations, snorkel tours, etc, as well as subsistence fishing.  So since the first discussion of bringing a shark protection campaign to this area, I have been listening and asking questions of my ocean-going friends.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beware of Squalls

By Nick White, July 16, 2012

Photo: Sarah FiskPhoto: Sarah Fisk“Get ready to tack!”

“Let go the mizzen! Nick, LET GO!”

Following Skipper’s orders, I gave slack to the mizzen line. The boom of the sail swung dangerously low overhead and stopped abruptly as it reached the limit of the slack. The sheets of the sail gave a resounding wallop as they were blown taut by the wind.

“Good, now make fast!” I held the line strong and cleated it off quickly. “Now, up to the headsail! Change the headsail!”

Keeping a leery eye on the boom, I stumbled my way up towards the bow, clinging to what I could of the sparsely furnished deck. I could see my crewmates Manasa and Kelly off of the bow of the boat, standing on the net, struggling with a wild sail whipping back and forth in the wind. As if the violent headsail were not enough to handle on its own, the bow of the boat periodically plunged underwater, drenching both of them and threatening to wash them overboard – which in this weather would mean death.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whales welcome us to Fiji!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Tabu!

by Deborah Bassett

I first traveled to this Pacific Islander nation made up of 332 islands scattered throughout the heart of Oceania, back in 2010 to cover a story on eco-tourism. During that initial trip I had the opportunity to visit one of Fiji's locally managed marine-area networks (FLMMA). I was inspired by the community based "tabu" (pronounced tambu) initiative in which a local chief designates a specific area as a "no fishing" zone for a certain amount of time, at least one year, in order to ensure healthy coral reef systems and allow fish populations to recover from the occasional natural disaster and the ever-growing devastation caused by excessive commercial over fishing- primarily by foreign long lining vessels. The tabu system is very much a grassroots movement, based on community and environmental health needs, led and enforced by the power of the people. It encourages local villages to regain control of their marine ecosystems, which their survival and that of future generations ultimately depend upon.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Vanuatu – ‘Plenty Fish’

By Simon Ager, 2nd Mate on the Brigitte Bardot

blog-120727-2-(120718)_sa_vanuato_rano_island_trees_005_8859Travelling through these islands, the first thing that struck me was how untouched it looked from the surface. Lush landscapes, trees reaching to the heavens, no signs of the clear-cutting that was so prevalent in the Solomon Islands. But where are all the birds? Would it be the same below the surface?

Greeted with big shy smiles and warm welcomes wherever we went, we ventured into villages accompanied by our crewmembers who joined us from Fiji, one a native to Vanuatu. The locals would gather to listen to us preach the good word of Mother Nature.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Protecting Sharks One Village At A Time

Report and photos by Deborah Bassett

It's been just over 2 weeks since I joined the crew of Operation Requiem here in the amazing land (and sea!) called Fiji. Our small team, led by Shark Angel extraordinaire Julie Andersen, spent the first few days in the capitol city of Suva sorting out bureaucratic red tape before joining the local dive vessel that would become our home over the next 10 days, while the crew of the Brigitte Bardot continued onward to Vanuatu to strengthen our diplomatic initiatives there. After several meetings at the Ministry of Education, we were pleased to receive full clearance to teach in the Fijian school system during our mission here--nothing like instant credentials!

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