Last Days to Get Project AWARE Gift from PADI

Project AWARE’s corporate partner, PADI, is granting one big wish this holiday season!

 

If you are reading this right now, you better check your calendar if today is December 30th 2012. If it is, then you have TWO more days left to support PADI with their 2012 Project AWARE campaign.

This year, Project AWARE noted some really great achievements done by their supporters and by those who love the ocean. Project AWARE introduced Dive Against Debris that has collected (and removed) more than 40 tons of marine debris, which we also did with The Menjangan to clean up the beaches there with divers from our small Blue Season Bali Menjangan Diving office. Ocean Action Project was launched and Project AWARE is donating, supporting and working with 5 projects winner everyday to save the ocean, and not to mention the ocean fans achievement when European Union ban shark finning which will benefit sharks globally, and all other tireless actions that they do.

As tProject AWARE Hoodiehe year closes soon, it seems that Project AWARE is not letting go each momentum and pushing their best ways to save the ocean. This time they are giving away a cool Project AWARE Hoodie, that certainly matches your eco-heroism souls, when you donate $ 250 or more. It’s a holiday gift worth of $ 20,000 in total from PADI acting as the project’s key corporate partner. So why wait? This is a good chance to do your part and enjoy a little holiday gift for doing it.

Check out Project AWARE Hoodie Gift page for detailed information about this.

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Menjangan Cleanup Great Success

From December 1st – 3rd the Blue Season Bali internship team went to Menjangan for a 3 day beach cleanup. 

After our arrival in the Menjangan Resort and a very generous lunch we cleaned up the area around the small Blue Season dive center. Good to know was that the area around the helicopter pad was still clean after our last cleanup! So we only had to focus on the mangrove area, a very important habitat for juvenile reef fish. On the 2nd and 3rd day of our trip we cleaned up two beaches on Menjangan Island: Pos 1 and the Temple. Especially Pos 1 suffers from a lot of garbage, most likely from Java which is picked up by currents and waves. We spent a good 4 hours cleaning those two beaches. Fortunately we were not alone. Dive shop managers Dan and Claudine, and also some local people joined us. After cleaning up we could wash our hands and feet in the crystal clear waters around the island. 30+ meter visibility, dramatic and steep walls and enormous gorgonian sea fans, what a gift to dive in these waters!

Thanks to Blue Season Bali, the Menjangan, and Blue Season Bali @ The Menjangan for helping us organizing this successful event. We’ll hopefully be back soon!

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Updated CoralWatch survey results

The latest CoralWatch results are now available! Over the past months we have surveyed 8 different locations in Bali. We have analysed  over 2000 seperate coral colonies during our 41 surveys. The composition of each reef can be found below. For more information about the health of those reefs, have a look at this document or send us an email via info (at) eco-internship.com.

 

 

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Marine Reserves benefit fisheries

Marine Reserves

An international team of scientists has gathered the first conclusive evidence that marine reserves can help restock exploited fish populations on neighbouring reefs which are open to both commercial and recreational fishing.

The groundbreaking study was carried out in the Keppel Island group on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS), in conjunction with other leading research institutions, and is reported in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology.

Its findings help to resolve a long-running debate in Australia and worldwide about whether marine reserves, areas closed to all forms of fishing, can help to replenish fish numbers in areas left open to fishing.

Using DNA fingerprinting technology, the team of scientists tracked the dispersal pathways of baby coral trout and stripey snappers from the marine reserves in the Keppel island group where they were spawned. They found that a very large proportion of baby fish settled on reefs in areas that are open to fishing, up to 30 kilometres from the place they were spawned. Most of the baby fish settled within 1-5kms of reserves but a significant proportion dispersed 10 kilometres or more to find a new home.

“We found that the marine reserves, which cover about 28 percent of the 700 hectare reef area of the Keppels, had in fact generated half the baby fish, both inside and outside of the reserves,” says lead author Hugo Harrison, of CoECRS and James Cook University. “The study provides conclusive evidence that fish populations in areas open to fishing can be replenished from populations within marine reserves.”

Team leader Professor Geoff Jones adds “We’ve known for some time that if you close an area of reef to fishing, both fish numbers and sizes within the reserve increase. But the fate of the offspring of fish in the reserves has been a long-standing mystery. Now we can clearly show that the benefits of reserves spread beyond reserve boundaries, providing a baby bonus to fisheries.”

The research establishes proof-of-concept for the idea that setting aside networks of marine reserves within a larger managed ecosystem like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, can simultaneously provide significant fishery and conservation benefits.

Local recreational fishers worked with the research team to sample adult fish populations within the reserves. Recreational fishing sector representative and manager of the CapReef program Bill Sawynok says “Local fishers who assisted in the project have been keenly anticipating the results for some time.”

From: sciencedaily.com

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Cone snail venom for treating type 2 diabetes?

Cone snail venom

Scientists have long known that cone snail venom has a great potential for drug discovery. The individual components of cone snail venom, known as conopeptides, are the primary target for drug manufacturers due to their unique properties. One of the first commercial cone snail conopeptides brought to market as a drug is Ziconotid, a powerful anti-pain medication derived from the Conus magus cone snail.

Recently, scientists isolated a conopeptide from the Conus striatus cone snail called Conkunitzin-S1 that alters how the pancreas releases insulin. This compound was found to have significant potential for treating type 2 diabetes. Their findings are reported in the magazine EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes making up 90% of the cases diagnosed each year in adults. The disease is characterized by high blood sugar levels and the body’s lack of ability to respond to sugar properly for normal daily activities. It is a serious disease affecting 285 million people in 2010.

Type 2 diabetes

Treating type 2 diabetes with cone snail venom?“This potentially could be a new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes”, says Professor Heinrich Terlau from the Physiological Institute of Kiel University and associate member of the Excellence Cluster “Future Ocean”. “The action of some substances that are ordinarily used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is independent of the blood glucose level”, Terlau describes. This can lead to low blood glucose, also known as hypoglycaemia. “What is new about this substance is that it has a very specific effect. Because of this fact, the likelyhood of side effects such as hypoglycaemia is minimal”, Terlau continues.

The newly discovered substance, conopeptide Conkunitzin-S1, binds to a specific potassium channel in the pancreas cells and leads to a temporarily increased release of insulin but only if the blood sugar level is raised. Trials with rats look promising and the next step is to see if the compound can be administered orally.

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Menjangan cleanup

Menjangan National Park

In the north west of Bali lies a remote part of the island called West Bali National Park. Famous for its deer and endemic birds, the park is still not frequently visited by tourists from the South of Bali. However, Blue Season Bali runs a very small dive center right in the heart of the park, in a luxury resort called “The Menjangan”. Last week we went to the Menjangan to assist dive resort manager Dan in a 3 day beach clean-up.

Pollution

Although Menjangan offers some of the best (wall) dives in Bali, it still suffers from large-scale littering and pollution from the mainland and from Java. That is the reason why we came to Menjangan with 14 people; among them were DMTs, PADI Instructors, and also Marlies, the winner of this years “Best Dive Job in the World” competition. On the first day after a long 4 hour trip to the National Park, we started with a cleanup in Bajul Bay, right of the dive center’s doorstep. Bajul Bay is home to the fascinating and colourful mandarin fish. We had three groups assigned to clean the beach and the bay, by either snorkeling, kayaking, or just walking. In less than 90 minutes we collected over 10 big bags of rubbish. We were sad to see so much plastic, fishing gear and clothing materials among the rubbish. Although I hoped to classify and identify all the rubbish we collected, we decided that that would take us several days. Remarkably, we found an incredible amount of plastic bags and food wrappers, but also shoes, diapers and fishing gear.

The second and third day were spent in Menjangan island, with its extremely steep and dramatic walls covered with extremely healthy corals and sea fans. Also here the beaches are covered with rubbish so we spent a couple of hours cleaning those beaches. We did this together with staff from the National Park. Although the amount of rubbish we collected was huge, we had the feeling that the National Park was doing the best they could to diminish the littering. I even spoke to Mister Nono, a local who made beautiful bags from recycled plastic. What a great idea bring this problem to people’s attention! If you are interested in those bags or supporting Nono, have a look at his website.

After 3 days of world-class diving we were sad to leave the quiet and peaceful Menjangan. And although plastic pollution is an increasing problem of astronomic proportions, we all felt happy that we did our part to conserve this beautiful paradise in the North West of Bali.

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World Ocean Day beach cleanup and Project AWARE fundraiser.

Teaming up for our Ocean Planet

Blue Season Bali and Crystal Divers Bali are joining forces with some help from PADIProject AWARE and Divemasters Bali to support ocean conservation and celebrate World Ocean Day! The 2012 theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change.

World Ocean Day Beach Cleanup and Barbecue Event

World Ocean Day Beach Cleanup

During the daytime (from 930 to 1130am), we will be conducting a beach cleanup with 100s of kids from Sanur Independent Schools. During the cleanup, we will host some fun games and educational activities.

World Ocean Day Barbecue and Project AWARE Fundraiser Party

On the evening of June 8th 2012, we are hosting an enormous Barbecue and fundraiser event (at Crystal Divers on on Jl Danau Paso, Sanur Bali) where we will be auctioning awesome prizes to raise a huge amount of money for Project AWARE. Last year we raised over $7000 so this year we are raising the bar and aiming for $10,000!

As well as raising money, we will of course have a fabulous fun packed night with great food, drinks, games and challenges…

Some of the prizes includes:

  • Dive equipment from Divemasters Bali and Aqualung
  • Drydock waterproof packs for phone and tablets
  • PADI Courses for kids and adults
  • PADI materials and eLearning vouchers
  • Hotels, Villas and Resorts packages
  • Tickets to Waterbom Bali
  • Private Magic Show from Toto
  • A day of learning with the Manta Trust Researchers

… and much more!

Scuba Diving Summer Fun Kids Program

Beyond the events on June 8th, Blue Season Bali and Crystal Divers will be conducting a summer long Bubblemaker and SEAL Team scuba diving program for kids age 8 to 9 years old and Junior Open Water Diver courses for kids between the age of 10 to 14 years old. These special multi-day programs will run from June 16th to August 5th 2012.

For more information, please contact:

email Robert@BlueSeasonBali.com or phone +62 (0)361 270852
or
email info@Crystal-Divers.com.com or phone + 62 (0)361 286737

Categories: Fundraiser, Kids and Scuba Diving, PADI, Project AWARE, Scuba Diving, World Ocean Day | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One-quarter of grouper species fished to extinction

Groupers

Groupers, a family of fishes often found in coral reefs and prized for their quality of flesh, are facing critical threats to their survival. As part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, a team of scientists has spent the past ten years assessing the status of 163 grouper species worldwide. They report that 20 species (12%) are at risk of extinction if current overfishing trends continue, and an additional 22 species (13%) are Near Threatened.

These findings were published online on April 28 in the journal Fish and Fisheries. “Fish are one of the last animal resources commercially harvested from the wild by humans, and groupers are among the most desirable fishes,” said Dr. Luiz Rocha, Curator of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences, and one of the paper’s authors. “Unfortunately, the false perception that marine resources are infinite is still common in our society, and in order to preserve groupers and other marine resources we need to reverse this old mentality.”

Threatened species

The team estimates that at least 90,000,000 groupers were captured in 2009. This represents more than 275,000 metric tonnes of fish, an increase of 25% from 1999, and 1600% greater than 1950 figures. The Caribbean Sea, coastal Brazil, and Southeast Asia are home to a disproportionately high number of the 20 Threatened grouper species. (A species is considered “Threatened” if it is Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable under IUCN criteria.)

Groupers are among the highest priced market reef species (estimated to be a multi-billion dollar per year industry), are highly regarded for the quality of their flesh, and are often among the first reef fishes to be overexploited. Their disappearance from coral reefs could upset the ecological balance of these threatened ecosystems, since they are ubiquitous predators and may play a large role in controlling the abundance of animals farther down the food chain.

Sexual maturity

Unfortunately, groupers take many years (typically 5-10) to become sexually mature, making them vulnerable for a relatively long time before they can reproduce and replenish their populations. In addition, fisheries have exploited their natural behavior of gathering in great numbers during the breeding season. The scientists also conclude that grouper farming (mariculture) has not mitigated overfishing in the wild.

Although the prognosis is poor for the restoration and successful conservation of Threatened grouper species, the authors do recommend some courses of action, including optimizing the size and location of Marine Protected Areas, minimum size limits for individual fish, quotas on the amount of catch, limits on the number of fishers, and seasonal protection during the breeding season. However, the scientists stress that “community awareness and acceptance, and effective enforcement are paramount” for successful implementation, as well as “action at the consumer end of the supply chain by empowering customers to make better seafood choices.”

from sciencedaily.com

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Weird relations: the sea cucumber and pearlfish

The sea cucumber and the pearlfish

You might have heard of the commensal / parasitic relationship that pearlfish have with sea cucumbers, but how many of you have actually seen a pearlfish enter its host cucumber through the anus where it hangs out most of the time?

Pearlfish

Pearlfish (family Carapidae) are scaleless, their bodies are somewhat translucent, and they look remotely like eels when they swim outside of their host.  They can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and have been found down to depths of over 2,000 meters. Some of the species can reach upwards of 50 cm in length when full grown.

These fish are unique in that the adults normally live inside invertebrates like clams, sea squirts, and starfish in a commensal relationship (not harming their host).  This trait is common throughout the Carapidae family.

Parasitic and commensal relationships

Some species of this family, however, are possibly parasitic. These live inside sea cucumbers where they will first eat the gonads of their host and then live inside the anal pore. The Pinhead pearlfish (Carapus boraborensis) is suspected to be parasitic whereas the Silver pearlfish (Encheliophis homei) is suspected to be non-parasitic based on stomach content analysis and where they are found within a cucumber when dissected.

Before entry, a pearlfish will normally spend several minutes inspecting the entire body length of a cucumber before proceeding to the back end. A knocking or tapping movement is performed near the anus as if “asking” to gain entry. Reports indicate that pearlfish normally back in tail first but have also been observed to enter head first. More than one pearlfish has been known to live inside a cucumber at any one time as well making for a somewhat cramped living environment. This trait has been observed with the Silver pearlfish where sexual pairing has been found within a cucumber.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our ECO Internship Program, feel free to contact me “niels at blueseasonbali dot com”

 

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Journée d’études des coraux avec Niels à Nusa Penida (Crystal Bay)

Après m’avoir expliqué le fonctionnement du « coral watch » nous sommes partis pour une journée d’exploration sur l’île de Nusa Penida.

La recherche consiste simplement à compter les espèces de coraux présentes de part et d’autre d’une ligne tendue préalablement sur le récif et à noter le type et la santé de chaque corail afin de surveiller leur évolution sur le long terme. (Ne pas oublier de garder la tête en bas et les pieds vers le haut afin de ne pas abîmer les coraux avec ses palmes)

 

A l’aide d’une tablette représentative des différents types de coraux nous les classons selon leur famille et leur couleur afin de déterminer la variété et la santé des fonds marins.

Nous les classons ainsi selon 4 types de famille :

  •  Les coraux à branches
  • Les coraux rochers
  • Les coraux plats
  • Les coraux mous

 

Pour chaque famille nous déterminons la couleur la plus claire et la plus foncée de chaque corail afin de faire un point sur leur santé.

Plus les coraux sont foncés plus ils sont sains et vice versa.

Ces recherches sont donc très variées selon les sites étudiés mais surtout très riches en informations. De plus, elles durent en moyenne 15 à 20 minutes à chaque fois, ce qui nous laisse toujours du temps pour s’amuser à chaque plongée !

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