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About Fijigirl

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  1. wow. I just read the fijisharkdiving.blogspot referred to above. There are a lot of untruths in an attempt to tell someone else's story in an effort to make it one's own. I reply only here on Wetpixel as this is an open forum. I, and others have tried to reply or comment on the one-way fijisharkdiving.blogspot but controversial posts or anything that does not shed a good light is not posted. That is not a blog, that is a self serving website. I agree with MikeO. Let's expend only positive energy moving forward toward the cause.
  2. Bula Drew, Thank you for the opportunity to reply. Sorry for the lateness of my reply as I have been away. Aqua-Trek has hosted many film crews over the last 10 years of running the shark dive. Thus far we have had some great productions as a result that have benefited in getting the word out that sharks need protection. Yes we hosted the Discovery dive team with Les Stroud. The Movie was unnamed as of the time of shooting. We were informed it was also for animal planet, a scientific program called Bio recon that studied the biological connection between sharks around the globe. They came and filmed our dive as we run it everyday. They conducted no experiments. The filming was about Les with a scientist swimming amongst large sharks. We only show sharks in a normal state of feeding, no chumsicle feeds. All very calm. Les explained that he would not be lending his name to any ludicrous productions as he is friends with people like Jean Michel Cousteau and Rob Stewart. I honestly felt that there was just a desire to swim amongst large Bull sharks and our site is well known for this. The movie is not about Fiji or Aquatrek, our dive company, so the name “deadly beaches” does not make sense. They remained on a live aboard the whole time. They paid our daily dive rate. There were regular dive guests on our boat as well and the dive was conducted normally. Yes, I know anything can be achieved in the editing room to make things look different from what they really are, but I have always had to trust film teams based on my discussions with them about what our dive is meant to achieve and that is to educate the world that sharks are not mindless eating machines, but graceful denizens of the sea vital to the marine ecosystem, and they are in great danger of becoming extinct. I never want to portray sharks in a negative light and will take no amount of money to do so. We made it clear from the beginning to Discovery, as all film crews, that we will not be party to any sensationalism. I created the dive on Shark Reef in 1999 to educate people about sharks and the importance of protecting sharks. It became immediately apparent that we must protect the sharks we were attracting to the area. That same year we collaborated with the village that owns the reef rights to the reef system where the dive is held to develop a Locally Managed Marine Area (a no fishing zone) to protect the sharks and the surrounding reef where the dive took place. As part of that program, a per-diver fee was assessed that goes to the village. This has been in force since early 2000 and has been successful in allowing the village to realize the importance of protecting and sustaining its natural resources. We now have developed a second protected area on our current reef, Lake Reef. Both are recognized by the Fiji Government as protected areas. In fact the area in between the two reef systems is also part of this protected area. This has been my passion for decades and I continue to work toward this effort each day. I am working to pass legislation in Fiji to protect sharks and ban the sale of shark products. My intentions are never to harm sharks, only to protect them. I hope to God that Discovery will not produce anything negative. Most upsetting to me is that the other shark dive company in Pacific harbour that is running Aqua-Trek's first shark dive site, were aware that Discovery approached me to do some filming and did not pick up the phone nor walk across the street and give Aqua-Trek a heads up on their concerns regarding the film crew's intentions. Instead they waited until after all is wrapped and then proceed with the badmouthing and blogging. This shows more concern about hurting the competitor than protecting the sharks. I thank you Drew for giving me the opportunity to give my side of the story. I wish more people on the internet were as fair minded as yourself. Please keep me posted if you hear any more about the program. Brandon Paige Dive operations manager Creator of the Shark Reef Shark Dive and the Ultimate Shark Encounter, both in Beqa Passage. Aquatrek Beqa Fiji
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