June has been a busy month, and sadly we have witnessed a lot of bleaching this year around Pattaya's Near and Far islands.
The cause of bleaching is when water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality. Dive Tribe were out surveying the reefs and training new teams to survey reefs ready for the installation of our permanent transects for our forthcoming EMP (ecological monitoring program course). This will allow us to better understand forthcoming bleaching events and be able to remove stressors from the reef which will give the corals a better chance at surviving bleaching.
Dive Tribe and volunteers managed to complete the first part of the artificial reef installation (Bottle Reef) which will soon be planted with coral fragments by our students, if you would like to help plant the reef or would like to sponsor a small part of this reef, do get in touch and we can give you more information on how you can help us help the environment.
The reef now consists of many steel structures (approx 6) and along the seabed we have now managed to install concrete bottle reefs which in time we will add more to surround all the steel structures. This projects has been given permission by the Royal Thai Navy & Department of Marine & Coastal Resources..... Remember please that corals and the ocean are protected under very strict Thai law, and if any company is caught removing corals or placing structures in the water with out prior permission they are subject to a 40,000 baht fine & 4 years in a Thai jail..You have been warned !
Shark Releases were also flavour of the month for Dive Tribe and its volunteers, we came across 15 juvenile sharks at a market which were due to be made into fish ball for noodle soup.
These sharks were swiftly bought by us, stored in tanks and then released back on to the reef over a number of days. As they are juveniles, these sharks are not tagged and are simply left to grow and repopulate our reefs.
I should mention that the reefs we release the sharks onto are protected from trawlers by the installatio of concrete blocks around the islands that were placed by the DMCR. There is also a strict no fishing policy 1,500 meters from the islands shores and anyone caught will now be reported and fines are being issued to repeat offenders.
I must say a special thanks to all our volunteers this month that have helped us execute all the projects and prove that many hand do indeed make light work. Thanks for diving with us ... Neil, Fair, Jasmin, Jorgen, Axel, Tommy, Andy,Gerry, Greg, Akira, Bob, Emi, Svetlana, Kris, Colin, Robert, Peter and all of our new students. By diving with us and supporting us we are getting lots of great work accomplished. Also a special thanks to Nireas Marine Research from Cyprus who have helped sponsor our work and allowed us next month (July) to move into our new premises in Pattaya, so do come and visit us and if your interested in sponsoring marine conservation, working with us or learning to dive please give us a call on our new number 0989 816606 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org