Monday, 5 March 2018

FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018

Attention all Dive Operators!!
Registrations are now open for participants (Sellers) to the FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018 which will be held on Friday, 09 March 2018 at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau.
The FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018 is the highlight and culmination of the week-long 13th Tourism Fiji Dive Fiji Fiesta from 03rd – 10th March 2018 will showcase famous dive experience along the Sun Coast to Pacific Harbour/Beqa region.
The FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018 is an event that creates an opportunity for the Fiji Dive Tourism industry to showcase itself and products to invited international Buyers.
This event is made possible through the collaboration of Fiji Airways, Tourism Fiji and the FHTA DiveComm.
Registration fees (VIP):
FHTA Members – $500
Non-FHTA Members – $900
Extra delegates – $250 per person
Don’t miss out! Register Now!
For full Seller information: FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018_Seller Info Pack [699 kb PDF]
Updated Program: FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018_Program [431kb PDF]
Accommodation is on a ‘pay own way’ basis and is at FJ$250 vip inclusive of breakfast. You can book directly with the resort through reservations by quoting the LOCALQ1 rate at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. This is based on availability only so book now.

For more queries, contact Cheryl Chow-Fong on 3302980 or email to

Tourism Fiji Dive Fiji Fiesta 2018 - Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association

On behalf of Tourism Fiji, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association Dive Committee and Fiji Airways, it gives us immense pleasure in announcing that the 13th Fiji Dive Fiesta will be held from the 3rd – 10th March, 2018. The Fiji Dive Fiesta is established as the largest single dive event for Fiji and brings in pre-registered international dive agents from around the work on famils to some of Fiji’s wonderful dive spots. 2018 will showcase the famous Suncoast (Rakiraki) and Pacific Harbour/ Beqa regions which offer some of the best diving experiences Fiji has to offer.
After a three year absence the Fiji Dive community, through sustainable initiatives and popular demand from global dive partners, has placed the Fiji Dive Fiesta back into the annual calendar. Industry support has flourished within the niche experience, joint-venture’s to promote the importance of marine health in focus, and the opportunity once again, to open our doors in offering world-class diving, at it’s very best.
The Dive Fiesta will culminate on Friday, 9th March with the FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2018 at the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa where registered dive operators will meet with all agents. The Dive EXPO is only open to local dive operators around Fiji who wishes to meet with these international agents who market Fiji as an awesome dive destination. If you are a dive operator and wish to meet with these agents, visit our website here for more information on how you can register to participate at this years EXPO.

Tourism Fiji Dive Fiji Fiesta 2018 - Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association

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Friday, 2 March 2018

Know your Cephalopods

Art by Mark Belan Illustration — with Pablo Razdrokin.


Members of order Octopodae have eight arms. Evolutionary trend in Cephalopods has seen a decrease in shell size in , to which Octopodae has completely lost. 

Octopodae have eight arms lined with two rows of suckers. The suckers contain cavities (A) that create low pressure effects to ensure a tight grip on prey. 

Octopodae eat crustaceans with tough exoskeletons. As a result, their beaks contain shorter upper mandibles to better pierce their prey and inject digestive juices. 


Decapodiformes include species with ten limbs (8 arms and 2 tentacles). Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthidae and are the most diverse order of cepha-lopods with 300+ species. 

Teuthidae have two tentacles that are longer than the rest of their eight arms. The clubbed ends are the location of unique stalked suckers that are used for hunting. The eight arms also lined (2-4 rows) of these suckers. Sucker cavities can be lined with a serrated ring (B) to allow better grip for feeding on prey. 

Teuthidae normally eat soft, fleshy prey like fish and shrimp. As a result, they have elongated and tapered upper mandibles ideal for tearing prey apart. 


Cuttlefish are decapodiformes that belong to order Sepiidae. They are unique to other cephalopods in that they contain an internal shell known as a cuttlebone.

Sepiidae also have two tentacles separate from their eight arms that are retractable. They tend to have large, stalked suckers that are more densely populated than the 4 rows on the arms. The arms tend to be denticulated and shorter, often with only 4 rows of stalked suckers. They often do not have serrated edges (C). 

Sepiidae, like Teuthidae, also have tapered mandibles for tearing apart soft prey. The lower mandibles may also be tapered to increase accuracy in picking at smaller prey. 


Nautilidae are unique cephalopods in that they contain external shells and are the only extant organisms of their order. They are the most closely related to extinct cephalopods. 

Nautilidae have 90+ tentacles that do not contain suckers. Instead, they have thin cirri that are retractable into a thicker portion called a sheath. Tiny ridges on the retractable cirrus (D) allow Nautilidae to grip their prey. 

Nautilidae beaks are similar to Octopodae in that they have a sharp, but short, upper mandi-ble ideal for piercing shielded prey. 

Friday, 2 February 2018

Home - IYOR 2018

The ICRI International Year of the Reef 2018 is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them. All individuals, corporations, schools, governments, and organizations are welcome and actively encouraged to participate in IYOR 2018. (Image courtesy of Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey)

Home - IYOR 2018

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Friday, 15 December 2017

Leatherback sea turtle could be extinct within 20 years at last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean

Biologists have found a 78 percent drop in leatherback turtle nests at their primary nesting site. There is concern that the largest marine turtle in world may vanish.
Credit: UAB
An international team led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has documented a 78 percent decline in the number of nests of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at the turtle's last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean.
The study, published online Feb. 26 in the Ecological Society of America's scientific online journal Ecosphere, reveals leatherback nests at Jamursba Medi Beach in Papua Barat, Indonesia -- which accounts for 75 percent of the total leatherback nesting in the western Pacific -- have fallen from a peak of 14,455 in 1984 to a low of 1,532 in 2011. Less than 500 leatherbacks now nest at this site annually.
Thane Wibbels, Ph.D., a professor of reproductive biology at UAB and member of a research team that includes scientists from State University of Papua (UNIPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia, says the largest marine turtle in the world could soon vanish.
"If the decline continues, within 20 years it will be difficult if not impossible for the leatherback to avoid extinction," said Wibbels, who has studied marine turtles since 1980. "That means the number of turtles would be so low that the species could not make a comeback.
"The leatherback is one of the most intriguing animals in nature, and we are watching it head towards extinction in front of our eyes," added Wibbels.
Leatherback turtles can grow to six feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. They are able to dive to depths of nearly 4,000 feet and can make trans-Pacific migrations from Indonesia to the U.S. Pacific coast and back again.
While it is hard to imagine that a turtle so large and so durable can be on the verge of extinction, Ricardo Tapilatu, the research team's lead scientist who is a Ph.D. student and Fulbright Scholar in the UAB Department of Biology, points to the leatherback's trans-Pacific migration, where they face the prevalent danger of being caught and killed in fisheries.
"They can migrate more than 7,000 miles and travel through the territory of at least 20 countries, so this is a complex international problem," Tapilatu said. "It is extremely difficult to comprehensively enforce fishing regulations throughout the Pacific."
The team, along with paper co-author Peter Dutton, Ph.D., discovered thousands of nests laid during the boreal winter just a few kilometers away from the known nesting sites, but their excitement was short-lived.
"We were optimistic for this population when year round nesting was discovered in Wermon Beach, but we now have found out that nesting on that beach appears to be declining at a similar rate as Jamursba Medi," said Dutton, head of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Marine Turtle Genetics Program.
The study has used year-round surveys of leatherback turtle nesting areas since 2005, and it is the most extensive research on the species to date. The team identified four major problems facing leatherback turtles: nesting beach predators, such as pigs and dogs that were introduced to the island and eat the turtle eggs; rising sand temperatures that can kill the eggs or prevent the production of male hatchlings; the danger of being caught by fisheries during migrations; and harvesting of adults and eggs for food by islanders.
Tapilatu, a native of western Papua, Indonesia, has studied leatherback turtles and worked on their conservation since 2004. His efforts have been recognized by NOAA, and he will head the leatherback conservation program in Indonesia once he earns his doctorate from UAB and returns to Papua.
He has worked to educate locals and limit the harvesting of adults and eggs. His primary focus today is protecting the nesting females, eggs and hatchlings. A leatherback lays up to 10 nests each season, more than any other turtle species. Tapilatu is designing ways to optimize egg survival and hatchling production by limiting their exposure to predators and heat through an extensive beach management program.
"If we relocate the nests from the warmest portion of the beach to our egg hatcheries, and build shades for nests in other warm areas, then we will increase hatching success to 80 percent or more," said Tapilatu.
"The international effort has attempted to develop a science-based nesting beach management plan by evaluating and addressing the factors that affect hatching success such as high sand temperatures, erosion, feral pig predation and relocating nests to maximize hatchling output," said Manjula Tiwari, a researcher at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif.
Wibbels, who is also the Ph.D. advisor for Tapilatu, says that optimizing hatchling production is a key component to leatherback survival, especially considering the limited number of hatchlings who survive to adulthood.
"Only one hatchling out of 1,000 makes it to adulthood, so taking out an adult makes a significant difference on the population," Wibbels said. "It is essentially the same as killing 1,000 hatchlings."
The research team believes that beach management will help to decrease the annual decline in the number of leatherback nests, but protection of the leatherbacks in waters throughout the Pacific is a prerequisite for their survival and recovery. Despite their prediction for leatherback extinction, the scientists are hopeful this species could begin rebounding over the next 20 years if effective management strategies are implemented.
Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Original written by Kevin Storr. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Ricardo F. Tapilatu, Peter H. Dutton, Manjula Tiwari, Thane Wibbels, Hadi V. Ferdinandus, William G. Iwanggin, Barakhiel H. Nugroho. Long-term decline of the western Pacific leatherback,Dermochelys coriacea: a globally important sea turtle populationEcosphere, 2013; 4 (2): art25 DOI: 10.1890/ES12-00348.1
Leatherback sea turtle could be extinct within 20 years at last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean

Friday, 1 December 2017

Leaving Paradise Behind - Tom Moody - Namenalala

Tom Moody

Tom Moody is a man who knows his own mind.

 “I like islands, I like tropics, I like remote,” 
he says. These were the simple elements he sought when he left his wife and teenaged daughter behind in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Fiji in the fall of 1982. After weeks of scouting he caught wind of the island of Namenalala, and hitched a ride on a fishing boat to check it out. About half an hour from the town of Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu, he spotted Namenalala. It looked like a green dragon with its long tail and high spine, keeping a lazy eastward gaze.

Moody spent two hours scouting Namenalala’s 107 acres. He found steep hills, rocky shores, and a complete absence of freshwater. In short, there were reasons why people had left this place alone. Moody got back on the boat but Moody peered over the edge at the coral reefs down below as the driver started toward town. “Can we just stop here for a few minutes?” he asked. He affixed his snorkeling mask over his narrow hazel eyes and flopped over the side. With a big breath he dove down into a pink, green, and blue forest. He was met by a trove of soft corals, feather stars, and sea slugs; there was more to look at than he could possibly take in. By the time he surfaced, he knew that he had found what he was looking for. Little did he know then this Eden would one day become one of Fiji’s last remaining pristine reefs.

Moody was not a middle-aged man in the throes of a midlife crisis. He was not trying to escape from a suburban life gone dull. In fact, he had lived the island life before, on Pidertupo Village, a three-acre island in the San Blas archipelago off Panama’s Caribbean coast. He and his wife Joan first came to Pidertupo in 1966 at the end of a five-year quest to find an island they could call their own. He had loved and then lost this life, and was in Fiji to try to rebuild it.

Read full article here:  SAGE – Leaving Paradise Behind