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

Big Blue Conservation - Sightings

So normally I post positive things about conservation action and developments in marine biology, but today I have some news. Unfortunately our artificial reef on Sairee suffered a horrible fate yesterday. Thanks to recent zoning plans and numerous mooring lines all around the island, anchor damage is now rare on Koh Tao. However, yesterday a dive boat dropped an anchor within metres of our coral nursery and artificial reef, and when we asked the captain to pull it up, he instead dragged anchor along with one of our structures 20 metres, destroying corals that we helped propagate on our nursery. Two years worth of coral growth was destroyed as the anchor dragged our poor dome and the concrete mooring block it was attached to before hitting the existing reef and damaging that too. The annoying thing is the boat was also attached to a mooring line - so why the need for the anchor? The boat was seen dropping the anchor by two divers maintaining the nursery at the time, who just about managed to get out of the way as the structure was destroyed. Despite us telling the dive school twice yesterday, the anchor is still there, and the boat still using it to moor on. They are also no where near where they normally moor up either.

           

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE dive schools tell your captains that if there isn't a mooring line for them, we will set them one up for free. Dropping an anchor can has immediate drastic effects to our reefs, and on a shallow sheltered site like Sairee with so many mooring lines already, there is no need. This anchor has done significant damage to both existing and artificial reefs, and it's lucky that the divers were not hurt in the process. I can't wait for the next Save Koh Tao season.

Take a look at these amazing images as underwater models brought the worlds of fashion and the ocean together in the shoot of a lifetime by freediving with 30-foot-long whale sharks.
Instead of flaunting their curves on the catwalk like other international models, Hannah Fraser, 36, and Roberta Mancino, 32, gamely dived up to 25-feet-deep into the ocean, complete with designer attire, for a one-of-a-kind photo-session posing in the wild with the 18-tonne world's largest fish.
The sight of top-models perfectly mimicking the graceful poses of whale sharks as they swam through the tropical waters of the Philippines was the brainchild of US photographers Shawn Heinrichs, 41, and Kristian Schmidt, 35, who spent four-months planning the five-day photoshoot.
The images come out only days after a whale shark was found by a scuba diver, still alive and trying to swim. Its pectoral and ventral fins were cut off by poachers who sell shark fins at a premium for the Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup. Locals, with the help of local government, pulled the still-struggling shark to shore where it died the next day.
This is not just something caused by Chinese fishermen, it is a global problem. Shark Fin soup is sold all over the world, even in the UK.

           
     
Mr Heinrichs described how they were able to take the incredible shots, by tapping into the knowledge of locals in the Philippine village of Oslob, where fishermen have developed a special bond with the whale sharks they share the ocean with.
'Each day the whale sharks come in to the shallow waters of the village and the fishermen feed them small handfuls of tiny shrimp,' he said.
'For a few hours a day, the whale sharks sit peacefully beneath the canoes waiting for a tasty treat.
'I had a real sense of how work with human subjects and these magnificent animals.
Combined with Kristian's expertise working with fashion models, we had all the tools necessary to get the job done.
'Managing composition, position of sunlight, and working with the models to connect with the whale sharks enabled us to really make these images shout.
'The experience, confidence and natural beauty that Hannah and Roberta brought to the project was a decisive factor in making the shoot such a huge success.'
Shawn explained the impact their underwater fashion shoot with whale sharks has already had with viewers.
'People are blown away by the images,' he said.
'Most find it hard to believe they are actually real - many people assume the models are photo-shopped into the picture.
'Though cleaned up and enhanced with colour and lighting effects as in any fashion shoot, nothing has been added to the images, including the models
'People are immediately taken by the connection between these models and the sharks, the juxtaposition between these beautiful vulnerable women and these creatures of the deep.
'The beautiful form, light and composition create a surreal world that really captures people's imaginations.'
Bringing art and whaleshark conservation together will only help our conservation aims. Please support the fight against shark finning.
* Spread the word.
* Share photos and stories such as this.
* Sign petitions. This one is petitioning the UN for a worldwide ban on shark finning: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/532/581/725/?cid=FB_TAF
* Write to local restaurants serving the dish: Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation have a celebrity-signed template letter and map listing restaurants in the UK selling shark fin soup. Find them here: http://www.bite-back.com/shark-sightings-map/
Most of these things can be done with such minimal effort, just a few seconds, or few minutes, of your time. Collectively our voices DO make a difference. Countries and cities have successfully implemented bans on the sale of shark fin products as a result of individuals coming together to make a stink about it.
Source: dailymail.com
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2259016/Strike-pose-hold-breath-Fashion-models-underwater-freediving-photo-shoot-30-foot-long-whale-sharks.html#ixzz2IIVP4BnC

Shark sightings After years of enjoying the beauty that Koh Tao has to offer, we started to notice the unfortunate decline in certain marine species and ultimate disappearance of them from the area. So now we realise action must be taken, and so in conjunction with Shark Guardian Thailand, we will participate in eshark, a project started in 2013 entries collected between Nov-Apr of over 10 shark species, over 4600 files of data was phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 is starting now, so any sightings can be recorded, collected and shared for the development of shark conservation projects in Thailand. Ending result is to show how there has been a decline in shark population around Thailand within the last 10 years, and if ignored could result in the permanent disappearance of these species from this area of the World. http://www.sharkguardian.org/thailand-eshark-project/