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

Big Blue Conservation - Projects

Big Blue Conservation helped raise funds for the construction and maintenance of Buoyancy World yesterday thanks to a great idea from Gav, a Divemaster trainee at Big Blue. Lots of Big Blue crew teamed together in one big soapy mess and made Koh Tao's scooter population squeaky clean! Utterly impressed with the effort of local residents, SCUBA Schools International (SSI) even agreed to DOUBLE what ever we raised, bringing the grand total to 2450 baht!
So fancy about having 5 soapy, wet divers clean your scooter for you? Only 50 baht and it all goes to charity! Gav, you won't have to buy a round for a while, I think...

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“Dive Tribes Great Shark Release” hopes to be one of the largest shark releases ever staged.
The idea is to release captive bred sharks and sharks we can rescue from restaurants and pet stores in Thailand back to the ocean on Sept 3rd 2011. We are working with a team of marine biologists and shark specialists to make sure that every thing we do is text book and no harm will come to any of the sharks during the release.
Currently the shark situation in Thailand is becoming worse, sharks are taken for fins or the pups and small sharks simply taken for soup and Thai dishes.
These sharks are sometimes taken illegally and usually at night from our National Marine Parks.
 
By releasing Bamboo, Leopard and Black Tip Reef Sharks we hope we can:
 1. Restore a small portion of the shark population
 2. Bring public awareness to the decimation of Sharks in Thailand and globally
 3. Educate the public as to the importance of sharks
 4. Open and start dialogue with the relevant authorities regarding putting in some protection for endangered shark species in Thailand
 5. Make this an annual event until the relevant protection is in place.
Without this campaign we face serious decimation of our sharks population in the coming years.
We have to act now and bring all the public media, aquariums & dive centers together and work as one before its too late and some of our last shark are taken from Thai Oceans.

In support of Dive Tribe’s National Shark Release event on September 3rd, two dedicated teams from Big Blue Conservation travelled to Chumphon and Koh Samui to find out if live sharks were being sold, or kept in tanks in restaurants and other tourist related venues. We planned to buy these sharks and release them back in to Koh Tao waters. However both teams found no live sharks – only dead ones. In Chumphon, shark fin soup is sold at two restaurants, with prices varying from 400 – 2,300 baht. In Chumphon fish market, we found 4 dead black tip and 2 dead grey reefs sharks. Samui markets sold many sharks, most selling for less than 90 baht a kilo (less than £2). No shark we found weighed more than 2 kilos. In Samui, most restaurants sold Shark Steak, and when asked who eats them, they told us that westerners were the most frequent buyers. All sharks we found were purchased from fishermen on the west coast, so were not taken from Koh Tao reefs.

           

In the grand scheme of things, the number of sharks sold was very small, however we found two very disappointing things – firstly, the sharks were being taken from “marine protected” waters in the Andaman coast and were commonly juvenile sharks, therefore had not had a chance to mate yet. And secondly, the people buying Shark Steaks in restaurant were the supposedly more educated western tourists wanting an ‘exotic’ dish. There is much controversy surrounding shark fin soup and many westerners wont touch it, but it appears we are less against eating shark steak.
So what can we do about it?

• Well, spread the word – whether its shark fin soup or shark steak – a shark still has to die for it. Dont eat at restaurants selling shark products – and tell them why you’re leaving.
• Before you leave, why not scribble over the item on the menu so no one else can order it.
• Support local anti-shark fishing action.
• Sign the petition to ban shark fishing on Koh Tao – this way our waters can be a sanctuary for sharks to breed and reach sexual maturity.
• Give your muscles away - divers on Koh Tao will be showing their support for the ban in two days when we swim around Koh Nang Yuan at this year’s Swim For Sharks... watch this space!

Our instructors use alot of whiteboard markers, and seeing a bin full the other day, I wondered 'how can I recycle them?' I thought about making picture frames ourt of them, or even using the metal casing as skipping rope handles. But to be honest, there's more used pens than demand for skipping ropes. So I’ve spent about an hour this morning reading the “about our products” page of all the marker pen manufacturers I can think of but no one mentions how to recycle them. (They do though tell you how many solar panels are on their factory, or how they print the name of the markers onto the marker barrel. You know, useful stuff like that). Even if the barrel is a recyclable plastic, it probably won’t be a case of just throwing in them in a green bin – you’ll probably have to remove the writing core (the ink “tampon” – see the things I learn reading these pen websites!) as that’ll be different from the hard plastic of the barrel. You can apparently get refillable whiteboard markers – you either resoak the “tampon” inside with more ink or replace the whole ink bit with a new pre-soaked one. Needless to say, the time/mess/expense of doing that means that only the dedicated will do it – for the rest, it’s easier & cheaper to replace & throw away disposable ones, sigh.

BUT! After looking a bit more, I found out that if you inject nail varnish remover into the nib, they come back to life! Nail varnish remover is super cheap, and the local clinic has donated a needle to us, so great! we can nurse these pens back to life! Phew! Sleepless nights are over...

For more information, check out this page.

Well, how dedicated are we - over 50 people braved the storm on Saturday to participate in this years International Clean Up day at Big Blue! Staff, trainee Divemasters and lots of other volunteers helped collect rubbish from North Sairee beach - both on land and under the sea. Every year, debris in the water harms millions of fish and aquatic life, but we at Big Blue love our reefs to much to see them become a rubbish dump! So we set out to clean that rubbish up, polish the coral and scrub the fish until they were sparkling clean! We collected over 50 kgs of rubbish, so a fantastic job guys well done!!

Don't worry if you missed this event, we do it on the last Saturday of every month! And guess what... the dive is FREE!! So come join in! Even if you can't make the next clean up, you can always do you own little bit on every dive - just ask us for a mesh bag and collect away!