July 31, 2014
Tiger shark washes ashore in Mustique

On Tuesday morning, many Mustique residents witnessed an “unusual occurrence” when a dead tiger shark was found floating among large quantities of seaweed in Rutland Bay.

The 11 foot long female shark, which was discovered by sea turtle researchers in the marine conservation area {{more}}during an early morning patrol, did not appear to have any visible injuries.

As this particular species (Galeocerdo cuvier) is considered by scientists to be “near threatened”, Sustainable Grenadines Inc. (SusGren) and the Mustique Company are currently consulting shark experts to look into the possible cause of death.

In particular, they are trying to ascertain whether the predator’s death is linked to the influx of pelagic sargassum (seaweed) that is yet again affecting the Eastern Caribbean – the last time being in 2011. Scientists and researchers speculate that this influx might be linked to “global climate change”.

According to SusGren, this is an added factor in the survival of sharks, which are already threatened with extinction given heavy pressure from fishing.

Its press release stated: “Their poor public image and the myths about their danger do not help. Sharks are in fact vitally important to the marine environment because they are an apex predator, and they play an important role in keeping an ecological balance.”

In recognition of their important role in the environment, there is increasing momentum for shark conservation throughout the Caribbean. As recently as May of this year, the British Virgin Islands established a shark sanctuary throughout its entire marine area – protecting all shark species and prohibiting the trade and sale of shark products.

The BVI joins The Bahamas and Honduras as leading countries in our region to take this important and much needed conservation action to fully protect all sharks.

As part of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ commitment to the Caribbean Challenge Initiative in support of marine conservation, the government has undertaken to

participate in regional shark protection by May 2015.

SusGren is appealing to the public to report any incidents of sharks, whales, dolphins or sea turtles washing ashore, and to refrain from killing sharks.

Tiger sharks are most commonly found close to the coast in tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world, and can range in length from 9 – 18 feet and weigh up to 2000 lbs.

For more information, contact Sustainable Grenadines Inc., located in Clifton, Union Island. Telephone or Fax: (784) 485 – 8779 or e-mail: [email protected]