17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Conservation        +66 (0) 077 456 179

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A few words from our German intern Matthius.Matthius surveying the dive site

It was a surprise to work at big blue conservation – right from the beginning. Of cause, when I’m in SEA I have to dive again. But in that time I was searching for a place to work, some kind of volunteering, but never thought about combining both and work under water. My first thinking was: “I’m not made for it, that’s stuff for scientists, what should I be able to do?!” But what a luck that I tried. It is an incredible experience to have your desk under water, that’s is absolutely the best working place ever. But that was later. First I had to learn a lot. Everything I knew was from school – that was not much because Germany has not a lot marine borders and even less coral places and it was very long ago.

But it is quite simple. Everyone can be a part of conservation only by thinking about what you do and act like what you think is good for your environment. And adding to here I got the skills to continue this way under water with the most beautiful landscape in the world-coral reefs. It changed my view while diving. It is not only about these cute colourful fishes swimming around – there happens much more. All the tiny little processes that are going on all the time around you, the way the fishes are related to each other, the importance of an equal population of all and mostly the incredible role of corals themselves – I didn’t knew that and I didn’t realized before. Once I had spotted the bad effects of human behaviour to the oceans like broken or bleached corals, I have seen it everywhere! That was incredible and showed me that the reefs need the support even of those fools like me. Not only by removing the waste from beaches and corals, especially the work in the nursery showed me that I can support coral growing. It was beautiful to work there and to see how interested the fishes around have been in our work. I hope that they conquer these structures down there as their home soon. And hopefully more people try to take the same way like I did, when I was starting the internship to become an eco-warrior. I’m proud of putting my positive economical footstep down there and being a part of the puzzle to save coral reefs and their incredible beautiful environment.Matt cleaning the nursery

But still there is not only a lot more to do like this, particularly the beach clean-up showed me that not only people from SEA need more education about saving their environment and their personal effects to the global ecosystem. Nobody should let himself let off like this and use plastic careless and thoughtless. That means not only support recycling, it means thinking about how much plastic is necessary in everybody’s everyday life. 

The season of giving!

December is known, to many throughout the world as the season for giving, all basking in the jolly and joyful atmosphere. However during this time we should not forget the most giving of all, which is Mother Nature, providing us with the food and shelter we need to survive so richly on this world.Food chain presentation

We do not stand alone on this planet, we share with many others, some strong some weak. As humans we class ourselves to be one of the strong, standing tall above other organisms, which we use to own needs, sometimes not thinking of the fate we will deliver to ourselves.

So this season of joy, let’s take a moment and give a thought to those we share the planet with and to whom we must not use, but protect, as together we are a world full with so many different forms of life. From the Bee pollinating the flowers, to the Sharks guarding our oceans, they need our help.

This year we worked together with the local playschool to raise money and awareness to the importance of sharks within our oceans. The children designed Christmas cards with an aquatic theme, and then took time out of their busy schedule to help us sell these cards and raise funds for the school, as well as educational books, designed by the great charity Shark Guardians, which will be donated towards the school and other local schools.Selling christmas cards 500x281

They had a wonderful time and look forward to the venture this time next year, so great job guys you are true guardians of our oceans in this time of giving!

Beach and Reef Clean-up.

At the end of every month we get a small group of volunteers together, for our Beach and Reef clean-up. beach clean nov 500 x 281 

This month was no exception, with just over 20 volunteers we were able to fill 7 garbage bags during the beach clean along North Sairee beach, our most visited beach here on Koh Tao, and then we filled 3 bags of garbage from Mao Bay on our Reef clean in the afternoon.reef clean Nov 500 x 281

So overall quite successful and I would like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers, that by giving their time to help, have probably saved countless marine lives. beach clean volunteers 500 x 281

THANKS GUYS!

 

Fishing Nets

Thailand like many countries relies greatly on the oceans and rivers for their food source, and so being a fishermen is a popular career to many Thai people.  Whether it be commercial for the masses, or just local, feeding only their friends and family, it will affect the fish populations, in some way.Fishing net at Chumphon P.3

The island of Koh Tao rests approximately 65km off the East side of mainland Thailand, and is the furthest North of all islands on this coastline.  The Gulf is popular for squid fishing, barracuda fishing, king mackerel fishing, and the fishing of snappers, all of which play a crucial role in this particular ecosystem.

However it is more the way they are caught that is really having disastrous and long term affects within our oceans, the use of trawler nets, purse nets, and long lines, which catch more than the targeted species and when snagged on the coral will be left at the bottom trapping more fish for during their lengthy lifespan.

So a solution may finally have arrived, a bio-degradable fishing net with a tracking system so each snagged net can be recovered for repair, or if left below, can then be triggered to break down at a productive rate.For more information on this new design look in to the Remora net.Fishing net at Chumphon P.4

However Koh Tao has yet to see the introduction of this great invention, so we asked volunteers to help us remove these harmful nets from our favoured dive spots, and with great success we freed the ocean from a few more net. Fishing net chumphon P 5

Great Job Guys!

There are many reasons for coral conservation, however is the farming of coral for human bone grafts, as much a positive idea for coral as it is for us humans?

Whilst diving we look on in awe at the beautiful colours and shapes the corals appear in, and wonder how do the corals create such a magnificent underwater landscape.coral Sairee 500 x 281

Well the answer is that they are clearly more than meets the eye, corals are unique in that they are not just animal based, in fact they are also plant based and  mineral based, making them a wonderment from nature.

However in this discussion I don’t wish to keep telling you how brilliant our underwater garden is, but more so can us as humans take advantage of its brilliance. Referring back to my previous description of coral being a mineral based organism. That comes from their Calcium Carbonate skeleton, that just so happens to be very similar to the Calcium phosphate that makes up our bones.

Scientists then suggested due to its similarity it could be used as a human bone graft, saving lives by reducing the surgeries to just one.  The down side was it just wasn’t quite right for a suitable bone graft not biological degrading at the right rate.

So they started to experiment, and found if they could alter/change the composition from Calcium Carbonate to Coralline Hydroxyapatite, it just might work.coralbones

Through recent research scientists found that this would biodegrade as the new human bones formed, making it a successful and profitable discovery. A discovery that is now be used my major pharmaceutical companies that aim to make a great profit from growing and exploiting the corals.

Just like farmed cattle and fish it has now come to this, farming of the world’s most intriguing organism. Coral needs the Calcium Carbonate from its predecessors to regenerate, which is fine apart from that appears to be a natural occurring substance, created by nature, and research has found that nature is running short of this marvellous formula, reducing the chances of successful growth within nature.

On the other side of this question, would this new found discovery be a way to encourage people to save our corals and the complex ecosystem they sustain.

Can you decide whether this discovery is helping nature or something else for humans to use until there is no more?