Of the more than 430 fish species that populate Shark Reef Marine Reserve, some are particularly impressive and deserve a short description on this website.
THE BULL SHARKS
The Bull Sharks live off the wall of Shark Reef Marine Reserve in the deep water (60-100m) of Beqa Passage. It is believed that some of them are resident (although not properly territorial, as the term implies that they will defend their territory against conspecifics) and thus are the most frequent visitors, whereas others are more transient and accordingly, only rarely seen.
A total of about 150 different individuals, half of them named, have been observed in the Reserve. They come in to feed in mixed sex groups of about 10-15 animals, possibly social groups, and it appears that the groups rotate on 10-day cycles. Our ongoing database is tracking all the named individuals to try and identify if there is a pattern to their movements. This is the first time Bull Sharks’ feeding and movement patterns have been studied to this degree.
THE SILVERTIP SHARKS
Silvertip Sharks have the most graceful lines and exquisite silver markings, making them quite unmistakable. Often times seen patrolling the steep drop-off, sometimes in small aggregations, they are regular visitors to The Fiji Shark Dive. There are a total of about seven different individuals and they will quickly let you know when they are around. It’s not uncommon for them to come straight towards you and then turn at the last second.
THE TIGER SHARKS
Tiger Sharks are, without question, the biggest animals to be seen in Shark Reef Marine Reserve. The Tigers do not appear as regularly as the other species; we tend to see them about once a month. It is known from other studies that their territories are very large, sometimes trans-oceanic, and they thus tend not to be resident on one small reef.
THE SICKLEFIN LEMON SHARKS
At present, there have only been six different individuals that have been sighted in Shark Reef Marine Reserve. Not one of the more regular visitors, being observed about once a week, the Sicklefin Lemons disappear during the summer months of Dec-Jan.
THE TAWNY NURSE SHARKS
Interestingly, nearly all the Tawny Nurses observed on The Fiji Shark Dive have been males. They are the most emboldened animals, so much so, that they have been witnessed keeping the Bulls away from the bait! It is not uncommon for the Nurses to be seen with their heads inside the fish barrels, and their tails flapping from side to side. There are a total of maybe twelve different individuals, all of who disappear during the summer months of Dec-Jan.
THE WHITETIP REEF SHARKS
The numbers of Whitetip Reef Sharks are too numerous to count or name. On any given day there will be 10-15 individuals cruising around in the shallows of the Reserve. They will occasionally venture down to ‘The Take Out’, before swiftly retreating to the shallows again. While you are at ‘The Take Out’ take a look behind you, you’ll be surprised at what you see!
THE BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS
The Blacktip Reefs inhabit the reef flats on top of Shark Reef Marine Reserve. As with the Whitetips, they too will venture down to see what is going on before quickly returning to the safety of shallows. At the end of the dive, anywhere between 10-20 individuals can be observed racing around; just watching them will exhaust you.
THE GREY REEF SHARKS
With an estimated total population of 50+ individuals, the Grey Reefs are seen on every dive in the Reserve. As with the Bulls, we do not see them all at one time, but rather in smaller groups of 15-20 animals. They are in the Reserve year-round and found at all depths on the dive.