End the killing of sharks in Mauritius!

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Since the beginning of this year, fishermen in Mauritius have captured up to 10 sharks. The Mauritian lagoon has an abundance of fish, which is a limitless food source for the sharks; bull and tiger sharks stay there all year round in the warm waters. What separate us from them are the reefs, which unfortunately, are not impenetrable due to pollution.

These sharks were ruthlessly killed and brought to the shore, the recent one being a pregnant tiger shark with 35 baby sharks. Tiger shark is a near threatened species and the government fails to recognize the seriousness of this issue.

The fishermen confirmed that they go out hunting for these sharks. In the video captured at Grand Gaube, numerous people can be seen just standing around and doing nothing while two men jabbed at the shark’s sides with sharp knives. They engaged in shark-finning; most likely so that they could sell the valuable fins to restaurants around the island, where sharks’ fins soup is a popular delicacy.

It is surely not a coincidence that most sharks are captured in Grand Gaube just where the fish farm is found, proving that aquaculture is closely related to shark sightings. Feed and excrement of these fish draw sharks, which smell food from more than a mile away. Consequently, these sharks linger about that source of attraction and fishermen end up encountering them on their way. The aquaculture industry has been implemented by greedy investors to make us believe that fish farming is the solution to food crisis when in reality everything points out that fish farming is not sustainable yet (due to their use of antibiotics and pesticides). These sharks would have never been killed in the first place if they were not lured into our lagoons. The presence of sharks in our lagoons is a threat to people and the tourism industry. Reunion went through the same scenario which led to the shutdown of the aqua farm. The disadvantages of aquaculture is clear and visible. It is time to shut all of them down. We do not have to wait for a shark attack to finally act.

Mauritius has signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and is supposed to stand firm against such acts. However, our priorities seem diluted with the sea being ours rather than for such marine creatures. We therefore urge the concerned authorities to shut down the aquafarms and to enforce the law of  banning the illegal fishing of sharks. Severe actions must be taken by the National Coast Guards who advocate for ‘’ the detection, prevention, suppression of any illegal activities within the maritime zones.’’