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Where is all the fish in Fiji?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by bluechub, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. bluechub

    bluechub Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maryland
    64
    3
    8
    Title aside, I am planning a family trip to Fiji for this July (4 divers) and wanted to get some feedback from the forum on the topic. Having read most of the existing posts, we are focusing on two areas, the Bligh Waters area on Viti Levu and Taveuni/Rainbow Reef, and we will be land based. While we love to see sharks we are not fans of baited dives, so we excluded Beqa.

    There are many, many videos on YouTube and the web that show impressive and colorful reefs in these two areas, with lots of small fish and critters, and here’s my question: where is all the medium and large size fish?

    With that amount of small fish one should see at least a few jacks, groupers and larger predators in many of these videos, however only a handful of them has the occasional white tip shark passing by. The majority of videos I have seen show clouds of tiny reef fish and beautiful corals, and smaller critters (nudis etc.). It almost seems that either the larger predators are missing or the majority of videos ignored them.

    We like seeing a lot of things, small critters but also larger animals, and will choose our destination based also on this. For those of you that dove these two locations from land, what was your experience in terms of reliable sightings? Any preference?

    Looking at the following resorts and any recent feedback on their dive ops is also appreciated: Wananavu, Garden Island Resort and Paradise Taveuni (considering also Volivoli, as there is generally good feedback on it).

    Thanks to everyone that will want to share any opinion and experience.
     
  2. BoundForElsewhere

    BoundForElsewhere Waiting for the zombies ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NYC
    1,455
    1,603
    113
    I think I am already living vicariously through you.
     
    Snoweman likes this.
  3. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    9,821
    7,485
    113
    If you go to Geographic Zone List | Reef Environmental Education Foundation you will find a listing of all the REEF surveys that have been reported from Fiji. if you click on a Geographic Report -- for example the first one, 5101, for Vitu Levu -- you can see the Sighting Frequency (that is, on how many dives was that particular fish seen) and the Density (where 1 means just seen once, and 4 means more than 100 seen; 3 would be a really good score). The eighth row down in that report is the Reticulated Dascyllus - Damselfish, wich was seen more than half the time and there are lots and lots of them. This is what you see the videos of, because it is so visual. Farther down the page you find the Scalefin Anthias - Grouper, with a Density of 3.4. Jillions, and theya re colorful. More videos. the highest-rated jack is the Bluefin Trevally, but only seen in 10% of the surveys and with a Density of just 1.7. Not so spectacular....but they are there.
     
    bluechub likes this.
  4. bluechub

    bluechub Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maryland
    64
    3
    8
    Tursiops, thanks for the input. Does REEF publish the data only after a certain number of surveys have been done or just one survey is enough to get published? The data sample would obviously be different and the data would be more/less reliable (although I see they try to normalize the data with a formula).
     
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    9,821
    7,485
    113
    One survey will get logged. The reports show how many surveys at that site. The 5101 report is a summary of all the sites at that general location. Go to individual sites and you'll see some have few -- or no -- reports. Lots of work still to do!
     
  6. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    1,807
    406
    83
    If you go to Beqa, they do not force you to do shark dives. BLR has 3 boats, and Mo, We and Fr one of the boats goes to the shark feeding while one other boat (or two, depending how many divers they have) goes elsewhere.

    In terms of marine life, on one hand I was kinda disappointed to see no rays, no octopus, just 4 moray eels (and among these 3 were well known to me from Hawaii), and just 1 large grouper, who showed up at the shark feeding dive. On the other hand, I was quite happy to see the sharks and lots of small bright stuff, like anthias, anemonefish, ribbon eels, and even 1 sea snake.
     
    bluechub and GreggS like this.
  7. chris kippax

    chris kippax Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Australia
    702
    505
    93
    Fijian's love spearfishing. Jacks, small groupers or Coral Trout as we call them are easy targets.
    People also may not realise that some fish are long lived and slow reproducers. My friend once caught two large red emperor and was a bit disgusted when we told him those fish may of been over 35 years old.
    Fiji is not a big fish destination
     
    bluechub likes this.
  8. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    9,464
    6,111
    113
    Yes, that is what I recall seeing in my two trips (Beqa Lagoon Resort and the Nai'a liveaboard). Compard with the Caribbean, it was quite spectacular. Compared with the best of the Indo-Pacific, maybe not so much.
     
    bluechub likes this.
  9. GreggS

    GreggS Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Thomasville, NC
    584
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    Additionally, the shark dives are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. When we were at Beqa, everybody else did the Wednesday shark dive and since my wife wasn't convinced to do it yet, we were the only ones on the reef boat that day. We asked if we could do a wreck dive so they took us to a site called Carpet Cove. It was the best dive of the week. There was an old Japanese trawler sitting on a flat sandy bottom at 100 fsw but right next to a huge coral head. We saw a very wide variety of fish including white tips, barracuda, turtles (one about 4 feet long), and lionfish as well as abundant and colorful corals.

    My wife finally decided to do the Friday shark dive. Incredible experience. I was going to do it whether she did or not, but she is now glad she did.
     
    bluechub likes this.
  10. bluechub

    bluechub Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Maryland
    64
    3
    8
    So it seems that it may be the case where the reef ecosystem is somewhat impacted, with fewer mid-sized and large-sized predators?
    I am now intrigued by what GreggS said about the Carpet Cove reef at Beqa and wonder if other reefs in the area still show larger animals? Perhaps the regular shark dives have a chain effect to attract other animals that follow the scent trail as well and show up on other reefs?
    Perhaps we should reconsider Beqa without the shark dive ...
     

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