Shark School in Fiji

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In 2012 Conservation Society of Pohnpei launched the shark campaign. The Traditional Leadership Council (Mwoalen Wahu Ihleile en Pohnpei) signed a declaration supporting the creation of all necessary shark laws and the establishment of a Micronesia Shark Sanctuary. CSP was able to reach out to all elementary schools in Pohnpei, the three public high schools and both national and state campuses of College of Micronesia. Meetings and workshops were held for political leaders of Pohnpei to understand the importance of sharks in our waters. Scientists and other political leaders who have passed shark laws and created shark sanctuaries in their countries were able to visit the leaders of Pohnpei to share their experiences.

It is after a year and still the Micronesian Shark Sanctuary has not been created. This means shark laws have not been passed in certain parts of Micronesia. After discussions of what can be done or the next steps, it was decided that islands in the Pacific Region should get together and learn from each other, thus the shark school was created and scheduled to be held in Fiji. Three islands were selected to attend the shark school, Pohnpei representing the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Fiji. A team of shark experts from mainland were to meet up with the group to facilitate the activities/exercises prepared for the shark school.

In Fiji, the representatives from the three countries went through serious shark education. Three intense days of exchanging and correcting information, suggestions, brainstorming and frustration, but at the end of the day it was all worth it.  The problems and challenges of the three countries differ from one another, so each country focused on the areas where there is weakness and assisted the others where they have strengths. Each member brought their own skills to the table and everyone was able to create work plans that suit their home countries. Participants walked away from the shark school with abundant resource, information and knowledge of the shark.