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Fishy Business

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Sharks have featured regularly on stamps of many countries and the first example shown here graphically illustrates why one would not want to be confronted with this particular species.

British Indian Ocean Territory 1994

Various British Commonwealth territories have issued stamps featuring sharks, possibly the most notable set of all being the excellently-designed definitive set issued by the British Indian Ocean Territory in 1994. Each stamp shows a different shark species, exquisitely painted, with the £1 value depicting the great white shark. The other stamps show: 15p Nurse Shark, 20p Silver Tip Shark, 24p Black Tip Reef Shark, 26p Grey Reef Shark, 30p Oceanic White Tip Shark, 35p Black Tip Shark, 41p Smith Hammerhead Shark, 46p Lemon Shark, 55p White Tip Reef Shark, 65p Tiger Shark, 74p Indian Sand Tiger Shark, 80p Great Hammerhead Shark.

British Indian Ocean Territory 2005

In 2005 the British Indian Ocean Territory repeated the shark theme by producing a set of eight stamps, depicting four different species of sharks and rays.

However, the British Indian Ocean Territory has a rather controversial history. It was one of the “Dependencies” of the British Colony of Mauritius¬†until the Chagos Islands were detached for inclusion in the newly-created British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965. The largest of the 60 small islands¬†comprising the Chagos Archipelago, Diego Garcia, was then leased to the United States of America for use as a military base. This resulted in the forceful removal of the existing population of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

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