Aqua-Trek is committed to preserving sharks in Fijian waters and to presenting a model for conservation and sustainable tourism that can be applied around the world. Aqua-Trek's Fiji Shark Conservation and Sustainable Tourism Program has evolved over the last 18 years, and it encompasses several interlinked aspects that have been instrumental in the conservation of sharks both on a local and global level. We have recently won the following awards for our Shark Conservation and Sustainable Tourism Program:
Aqua-Trek Beqa pioneered the shark feeding dive in Beqa Lagoon in order to be able to study these magnificent creatures up close. Sharks often evoke fear, but our 11 years in feeding them without a single incident shows that this fear is not justified. The feeding program has made the sharks accustomed to human presence which in turn has offered divers unparallel opportunities to observe, photograph and videotape sharks in their natural environment. The fish we feed to the sharks comes from Fiji Fish, a factory specializing in highest quality of seafood. An added benefit to the feeding program is that it keeps the factory fish scraps away from the refuse site and brings them back to the food chain. Our Ultimate Shark Encounter is only a part of the superb diving in the area; feeding also brings in a large number of other fish in the area. The regular feedings have created one of the healthiest fish stocks in the lagoon.
Now visitors come to Fiji to dive with sharks and learn about them in their natural environment. Dispelling myths that sharks are mindless and dangerous is an important part of our effort. Our mission is to educate people that sharks, the ocean's apex predators, are a vital part of the ecosystem.
It is estimated that the world's shark population will diminish by 90% in the next decades if nothing is done to stop shark fishing. This would cause a catastrophic demise in reef ecosystems. In 2006 Aqua-Trek began a campaign to ban shark finning in Fiji. By on-going research we are poised to have the data to convince Fijian authorities that outlawing shark fishing benefits everyone. Education, research and preservation of sharks are imperative for the balance of nature and to change attitudes about sharks. It is our goal to make sharks worth more alive than dead while we still have the chance.