Sharks in French Polynesia appeared on the stamps

June 17th, 2014

World Oceans Day, which was initiated in 1992 in the wake of the Rio Summit, is an opportunity, on the 8th of June, to raise public awareness of a better management of the oceans and their resources, to inform about the stakes, to create the desire to adopt a "sustainable attitude", and to provide courses of action by encouraging adults and children to act individually and collectively towards a better management of marine resources.

Getting a bad name because of the media and mainly the cinema industry (Jaws), sharks are not the man-eating predators that one might believe. Shark attacks are rare and exceptional (only 83 in 2012), but much more is written about them than the thousands of annual hippopotamus or cobra attacks. Targeted for their fins, some species are today threatened and are now protected (whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead (big and smooth), great white shark, whale shark, basking shark and sawfish).

Oceania civilizations of the Pacific do not fear sharks. The shark is a relative, a god, a family member. He is revered. He is associated with wisdom in Polynesian mythology; he is the reincarnation of lost ancestors and an entity that watches over the family. French Polynesian turquoise waters are a paradise for sharks. They are peaceful creatures in the Pacific Ocean and they are the delight of hundreds of divers.

As part of the event, the Post and Telecommunications Office presents a series of 4 postage stamps on the theme of "Sharks in French Polynesia": a blacktip shark "mauri", a large hammerhead "tamataroa", a whitetip reef shark "tapete" and a tiger shark "toretore".