Dead hammerhead on South Carolina beach, USA. Photo courtesy: Heather Philips/Flickr Creative Commons.

NUKULUA (FIJI)- About 50 dead juvenile sharks washed ashore on Nukulau, Fiji. It is believed that they could be the unborn pups of a pregnant female Hammerhead that was killed at sea. Another cruel proof of the terrible trade called shark finning.

According to internationally recognised shark expert Dr Demian Chapman the amount of dead fish washing up on the same beach suggest a fishery discard.  Chapman said that “a gravid female was killed and her pups removed during gutting and discarded. Fin traders would pay good money for adult scalloped hammerhead fins,” he told the Fiji Times.

Dr Chapman’s observations come after the bodies of 27 juvenile sharks were exhumed yesterday by a team of officials from the Department of Fisheries and shark conservationists in the hopes of discerning the cause of death.

Coral Reef Alliance Fiji field manager Molly Powers-Tora explained the dead juvenile sharks belonged to the Scalloped Hammerhead species commonly found in Fiji waters.

She said there were a number of theories surrounding the deaths including gill-netting and attack by an aggressive group of dolphins or other sharks, however, those remained to be proven.

Department of Fisheries senior fisheries officer Sunia Waqainabete said investigations were continuing and a statement would be released by the permanent secretary for Fisheries and Forests.