19 Apr 2010

FijiSun Newspaper Daily E News

Kadavu eco-adventure resort Matava is taking a leading international role with a major shark conservation initiative.

The resort is proud to be the first resort in Fiji to be certified Shark Safe.

Matava Director Stuart Gow said, “We have worked hard over the past few years to ensure that all the food, not just the fish, within our resturant ‘The Terrace’ here at Matava, are sustainable and natural”

“Matava, and our onsite fishing charters Bite Me Gamefishing Charters, are the first in Fiji to sign up and be awarded certification.

“We are now actively promoting, coordinating and distributing information about the Shark Safe certification programme around Fiji.” he continued.

Goals of the Shark Safe certification programme:

l Increase public awareness of the need for shark conservation.

l Reduce the sale, use, and trade of shark products. Shark Safe certification is designed to give discerning customers confidence that their choices help protect sharks.

Restaurants and businesses recognised as Shark Safe have met scientific criteria and stringent guidelines, and they are awarded the authorisation to display the Shark Safe logo.

The logo and its associated recognition and prestige will help attract customers to the business.

Since sharks are universally recognisable and tend to attract attention, customers and passers-by not already familiar with the programme will be drawn to the displayed logo and will be inquisitive. Participating establishments can provide literature about the Shark Safe programme, explain the basic premises, and direct people to the sharksafe.org website.

Christopher Chin, Executive Director and Founder of COARE and the Shark Safe Ceritifcation programme, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Matava.

“For them, conservation and sustainability are not mere bylines, but a deeply held philosophy.

“The world would truly be a better place if more resorts were to follow Matava’s lead.”

Beginning with the city of San Francisco and neighbouring towns and cities, COARE and Wild Aid are organising a campaign to increase awareness of shark finning and the deleterious effects of sharkfin soup consumption.

The ultimate goal of this campaign is to encourage both communities and the city administrations to embrace a requirement that any shark fins used come from legal and sustainable fisheries.

As part of this project, COARE is proud to offer Shark Safe certification to businesses that distinguish themselves through their dedication to shark conservation.

Bite Me Gamefishing Charters actively avoids fishing for any species of shark and encourages this practice to be followed by all. By encouraging non-lethal ‘catch-and-release’ shark fishing gamefishers and those sharks inevitably caught accidentally can enjoy their sport while ensuring that shark populations are not further diminished.

By promoting sustainable practices of ocean management we hope that sharks will be around to keep our oceans healthy for generations to come.

“At Matava, and Bite Me Gamefishing Charters we are of course both happy and proud to be spearheading this initiative in the South Pacific and indeed the World,” said Matava Director and Bite Me Gamefishing Charter Captain, Captain Adrian Watt.

Captain Watt finished by saying “We would like to thank all friends and clients of Matava and Bite Me Gamefishing Charters past and present who have contributed to the success of our ecotourism principles and the resort and we look forward to exciting times ahead.”

The Shark Safe certification programme is a featured project of COARE: The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education.

COARE is a tax-exempt nonprofit organisation based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose purpose is to study our oceans and increase public awareness of the earth’s marine environment through educational programmes and outreach.

To learn more about COARE and its other projects, visit www.coare.org.

FijiSun Newspaper Daily E News