Mozambique

The last two weeks of November we packed the 4×4 and headed up to Tofu, Mozambique to join Julie Andersen, one of the Shark Angels and Paul Wildman, her partner and cameraman. We wanted to check out the shark finning situation, but also hoped to photograph some of their mega fauna in the Tofu region. That proved slightly more tricky than we had anticipated….

Manta Mozambique

When we arrived in Tofu, we were greeted by poor water visibility and no mantas or whale sharks for the past three weeks. We decided to give it a couple of days and get our ears to the ground for where there might be shark finning operations working along the coast. Speaking to locals and dive operators, we headed north to Pomene, where word had it that things were active there. Finally arriving in Pomene, a small hidden gem in the middle of nowhere, we saw shark jaws of every kind being sold to tourists in the local market area. We decided to come and base ourselves at Pomene Lodge for the next week, especially after hearing that they had spotted some whale sharks and manta rays the day before. We found out that the shark finning camp had been raided three weeks earlier by the Mozambican government, and that they had moved their camp further north, but not too far away. Well, after 15 years of diving, I finally freedived with my first whale shark…..WOW! What an amazing creature!! We also had a beautiful manta ray encounter and Mark finally got to experience their magic. For me, they are truly the most magical creatures of all. And sadly, as we had dreaded, on the last day of diving we found the shark finners. Mark, Julie and Paul found and dived a longline, with thousands of hooks stretching over kilometers. They used eels as bait and there was a huge remora that was still alive which had been caught by one of the hooks that was pierced right through his eye. Hopelessly struggling to free himself, he was dying a slow death. What else had been caught we could only imagine. Mark photographed and Paul filmed it and they followed the line back later which ran in a loop back to shore and right to the shark finning camp. They were very aggressive towards the boat, thinking that we had cut their line. They are only the small evil doers in this story and word had it that they were being funded and supplied with equipment by the Chinese. So where does this end? And where do we go next? Spreading the word and sending out the message that this has to stop. We, all of us, have a responsibility towards the ocean. So let’s start preserving it.

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