Safari operators in online picture controversy deny shark fishing

The operators of a Safari boat whose staff and visitors were pictured with endangered shark species have assured that they pay special attention to environmental conservation, denying that the images showed shark fishing.

Furamaana Travels – which operates the Bolero Safari boat – told Minivan News that several endangered and protected species including sharks and sting rays were caught before being released back into the ocean after removing the lines and hooks.

“How would they know what they caught before they fish it out of the water? As soon as it was discovered that endangered species were caught, the safari crew removed the hooks and line. They were released into the sea, unharmed”, said a Furamaana staff member.

Photos of a night-fishing trip on the boat have prompted outrage, as they appeared to show tourists and staff members holding several species of live shark – which are protected under Article 4 (a) of the Environment Protection Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Director General Ibrahim Naeem told Minivan News that it is currently contacting the relevant parties, including Furamaana Travels, to clarify information about the matter.

“We will only be able to take any steps after all facts surrounding the matter has been clarified. We will take action depending on the severity of the offence”, Naeem stated.

Ali Rilwan, Executive Director of local environmental NGO Bluepeace stated that the NGO does not feel the incident to be an issue “from a conservation point of view” as the caught animals were released back into the ocean.

“Safaris in Maldives operate in a very ethically correct manner, once caught they cannot just cut the line and release it, they have to remove the line and hook before doing so. Taking a photo before the release is not an issue, I do not see this in a negative light”, said Rilwan.

Local NGOs last month condemned images showing a turtle being cut in half for its eggs and meat, prompting the fisheries ministry to commence work on introducing stricter fines – up to MVR10 million (US$650,000) for illegal capture of turtles and tortoises.

Meanwhile, a ceremony was held today at EPA Agency to award the fishermen of Madduvari in Meemu Atoll for rescuing a stranded whale-shark from a shallow lagoon near Maduvvari Island.

Related to this story

Fisheries Ministry to set up stricter fines for turtle hunting

Environmental NGOs call for action as images of turtle slaughter surface

Marine biologist discovers turtle, shark slaughter in Maldives’ UNESCO biosphere reserve


11 thoughts on “Safari operators in online picture controversy deny shark fishing”

  1. "They were released into the sea, unharmed" Really?
    There is no point releasing the shark as it is clearly dead!
    There are several other dead sharks in pictures from the same trip on Bolero.

  2. Clearly, what can be seen in the video is cruel and in no way an appropriate way to handle protected species!

    They were dangling the shark on a hook until it was exhausted before pulling it on-board. The shark is clearly in some distress and by the time it is manhandled, appears to be limp and almost lifeless!

    Hope that EPA takes appropriate action against the perpetrators of this cruelty.

  3. “How would they know what they caught before they fish it out of the water?"

    Really? This video shows otherwise. They knew exactly what was at the end of their hook, so much so that they left it on hook until it was tired enough to be hauled on-board! Bloody liars!

  4. Proof of actions on a video are NOT sufficient of course!!!

    Didn´t we have something like that before where video evidence was not sufficient ... - just saying.

  5. These photos of the so called sport fishing of sharks for catch and release are proof of cruel and dangerous handling for the sharks.

    Once out of water large species such as this go into shock. Rarely do they survive for any period of time after the release. Sharks must constantly move through water to breath. It is evident these sharks in the photos are either dead or near death. Plus the chance of infection of the hook wound is probable.
    The Fisheries Ministry must ban this practice to protect the shark populations of the Maldives. The resorts trying to make a dollar over such unsustainable and cruel treatment of sharks must end this greedy practice.

  6. the fish are dead or those guys wouldn't be holding them for photos. it wasn't a mistake because there are different fish in multiple photos as well. this is the kind of behavior that will go unpunished because basic human/animal rights are not protected by the illegitimate and corrupt government and their useless ministries and agencies like the EPA. they only pretend to care about these issues to get cash handouts from foreign govs, international aid programs, etc. video and photo evidence aren't considered valid under shariah law, very convenient for criminals and government officials in Maldives.

  7. The crew knew which shark that was, and hauled it on board. Also NGO Bluepeace shows a hypocrites face.

    If game fishing industry and conversation of species is to co-exists the responsibility must be taken up by the locals who are in the industry.

    today they maybe fined but the next day a video must no surface.

  8. I hope the next endangered shark these retards catch is strong enough to chomp off a few limbs.
    Is there no limit to human greed?

  9. something should be prosecuted.
    This has nothing to do with sport fishing !!!!


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