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Big Blue Conservation - Koh Tao - Thailand

Sairee’s new artificial reef.


Parrot fish feeding from the reefThe idea of an artificial reef goes back thousands of years, when the Persians created a reef in aims to block a nearby river to thwart the efforts of some Indian pirates. Since then a lot of research goes into the development of artificial reefs, the best locations, and methods, ensuring successful transplanting and further growth of the corals.

Artificial reef can be anything from a sunken shipwreck to an old shopping cart, regardless of their construction, the purpose is to provide hard surfaces where algae, and invertebrates, such as corals can attach and then grow. The eventual accumulation of the corals and algae in turn provides an intricate structure with food and shelter for different fish species.

Nudibranch, Plakobranchus ocellatus

However through research we have found corals and marine life seem to prefer particular materials when attaching to and fish to hide in. It seems that the majority of corals would prefer to start their growth, being suspended off from the sea bed, enabling the symbiotic algae to extract more sunlight, and allowing the nematocysts a better chances at feeding. When suspended the area below also creates a sheltered area for marine life.

So from knowing this we can see how successful our new artificial reef off North Sairee has become, Approximately only 5 months old, sitting at between 10-12 metres in depth and containing just 8 structures, it has started to gather the attention of different marine life from Parrot fish, to nudibranch species, which obviously see the area that offers not only shelter but a sufficient food source. Anemone taking up residence on top of a growing coral

 

Big Blue Conservation and the Koh Tao Shark Project Expedition

Big Blue Conservation had a day to remember when we were invited by local fishermen to watch how they fish, what they catch and to teach them how to identify species to through back and those they can eat. This trip is all part of the new Koh Tao Shark Project, aimed at learning about our shark populations on Koh Tao.

We were very lucky to be invited by P'Mat, a local fishermen, to join him on one of his fishing trips. We watched him fish with 7 other men off a longtail boat, deploying 7 nets in total, each about 100m long but only 3m high. With these nets, they hoped to catch Pink whiprays, a species of ray with a large distribution and currently has a conservation status of "least concern". Other than rays, they catch other small fish like fusilier, but in 16 hours of work with 7 nets, they caught only 10 different fish. Not species, 10 individual fish. We did a dive next to the net as it was being raised from the bottom, and we witnessed how careful they were, and no substrate was disturbed or broken from these nets - great news!!

Of the total catch, 7 were what they wanted to keep and 2 they successfully released back into the water. One trumpet fish died unnecessarily, but in the bigger picture, they were very responsible with the fish they caught and how they did it. They showed substantial understanding of the fish they collected, including being able to identify male rays versus females, and if the females were smaller then a hand, they put them back. We asked them why, and they replied "for next time". This is a wonderful thing to see, not only are the nets they are using are non-destructive, but the fishermen themselves are thinking in sustainable terms.

              

So what next? Well as part of the Koh Tao Shark Project, the fishermen have agreed to give us, for free, any sharks or rays that they catch accidentally (other than pink whiprays), so that we can survey and tag our populations. With the Pink whiprays, they will report to us how many they catch each trip, including male to female ratio, so we can help them monitor their fishing populations. This trip has shown us how our local fishermen are just as dedicated to keeping our oceans healthy and profitable for everyone. Thanks to P'Mat and his team for allowing us to come along - see you next time!

Happy Earth Day!!

A big happy Earth Day for yesterday people of Earth! We celebrate Earth Day to help remind us of how beautiful and fragile our world is and that it is mainly our responsibility to ensure it stays that way. With this in mind we had a crew of 17 people clean up North Sairee yesterday, and collected almost half a tonne (462 kgs) in rubbish!! It was insane to see how much trash we could find at the side of the roads and in waterways. Most upsetting was the amount of beach rubbish, as the majority of this will end up in our ocean, contributing to the substantial amount of plastics and garbage in our water.
In the afternoon we had 36 people join us for the underwater section of our clean up (after a fantastic dive at Chumphon pinnacle), and we managed to collect around 17 kgs of rubbish, including 8 eroding batteries - lovely.

                       

                                 

 

Celebrations didn't stop there! The Save Koh Tao Office hosted a Film festival where local contributed a short film about island life or a topic they feel especially passionate about and we all voted which was the best one. The winner was a fantastic film about one of Koh Tao's artificial reef deployment, by Simon Dowling. Well Done Simon! We all had a great day raising money and awareness about our Earth and celebrating everything is does for us. Thanks to everyone that helped out or contributed to the day. Go forth and be ECO!

Our first shark nursery success!

The Koh Tao Shark Survey enjoyed it's first nursery success today - we were so excited to receive a call from the local fishermen we are working with early this morning telling us they had accidentally caught 3 blue spotted rays last night. We went over there to collect them and brought them back to our nursery tanks. Next,  we made sure they were healthy and not damaged from the fishing nets, then we took measurements and data from the rays (2 males and one very small female!) and took photographs of the spot pattern on their upper body, which is specific to each individual ray and can be used to identify them. We can now use this data to track the ray populations, especially if they are re-sighted. A few hours after they were originally caught, they were released back into the water, where they happily swam straight under some rocks.

             

                       

Just when we thought the day couldn't have been better, late on during a dive at our adopted reef, we saw the small female hiding underneath our coral nursery!
The sharks had been caught by the fishermen and would have suffer a BBQ death if it had not been this project and the fishermen who support it. It's great to see the project working, with locals getting involved and some happy rays as a result. Stay tuned for more updates on our Koh Tao Shark Survey efforts.

A Shark-tastic day!


Thanks to everyone who joined us for the launch of the Koh Tao Shark Project yesterday! This project is designed to understand more about our populations of sharks on Koh Tao and raise education and awareness to divers and visitors to Koh Tao on sharks biology, their importance, and the problems they face.

Photo source: Dr Brian Beck, sciencewithoutborders.org
Koh Tao has a variety of shark residents, from Whale sharks, Black tip reef Sharks and diminishing (almost to non-existence!) populations of Leopard and Bamboo sharks. A total of 58 divers joined the trip to Shark Island to hunt for Bamboo shark eggs for our new nursery tagging scheme, and Shark Bay for the first of many community led research trips to gather more information on our reef sharks. 16 divers were awarded with an SSI Shark Diver Certification too, which helped to raise more money to support this project and other shark protection schemes on Koh Tao and in Thailand.
This project launch was on the same day the 7 species of sharks, including manta rays, were newly listed on CITES Appendix II for protection from international trade. This is great news, as now shark and ray populations around the world will receive the protection they deserve. Thanks everyone for joining, and if you would like a copy of the research tools or some slates to undertake your own shark snorkel survey trips, just ask!

The Koh Tao Shark Project - Shark day spectacular!

Do you love Sharks? Do you want to show your support on the last. most important day of the Conference of CITES in Bangkok? Do you want to be involved with the Koh Tao Shark Project?
Join us on MARCH 14th, when we will be launching the Koh Tao Shark Project!
We will have a morning of information on how to monitor our sharks, about our shark nursery, about the education centre and tagging scheme for Koh Tao Reef Sharks, and also a chance to learn about the protocol for surveying our sharks on Koh Tao.

                                                                  

The morning activities start at 9.30, come when ever you'd like, and if you want to join us on a shark survey expedition and shark egg hunt, then sign up with Big Blue before the day to secure your spot on the boat. The boat will leave around 1, and both snorkellers and divers are welcome. After this day, we will all have the same survey techniques available so you know how to survey the sharks at another time using identical protocols, and upload this data onto out Koh Tao Shark Survey public database!

Say YES to shark and Manta protection!

Calling everyone! If love Manta rays and Sharks, please please please send in your support for putting them on the listings for protection from international trade. Unfortunately, Thailand currently have voted AGAINST the management of the international trade of sharks at this years Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), but it's not too late. Please copy this letter and sign your name, then send it to Thailand Representative at the CITES Convention who is opposing the listing of sharks and rays as endangered species.
Email addresses to send your letter off to are: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Remember Extinction is not an option!

Dear CITES Representatives,
As a diver and shark devotee, I am writing in support of the shark and ray listing proposals that will be considered at the March 2013 Conference of the Parties to CITES. As you are aware, an unregulated number of sharks and rays are killed to meet unsustainable international market demands for Asian traditions such as shark fin soup.
Divers travel all around the world and pay substantial amounts for a diving experience with Sharks, bringing tourism and wealth to the reefs of countries that house shark populations, such as Thailand. The possibility of seeing a whaleshark in Koh Tao is the main reason for its escalating popularity as a diving destination. Tourism is a major contributor to Thailand’s economy, bringing thousands of people to Koh Tao and the Similan Islands to witness sharks and manta rays. As shark and ray sightings are getting less and less, more and more people are going to other areas around the world to areas which provide a sanctuary and protection for shark populations.
As you likely know, oceanic whitetip and porbeagle sharks, three species of hammerheads, and the manta rays have been proposed by various countries for listing under CITES Appendix II, so that international trade can be managed at sustainable levels. CITES action can complement fisheries management and go a long way toward securing the long-term economic, social, and ecological benefits of healthy shark and ray populations.
As ambassadors to the oceans, divers such as me respectfully urge you to support the shark and ray listing proposals. Your vote can help to manage the shark-selling trade and hold populations of sharks at sustainable levels, whilst maintaining a thriving tourism industry on your own doorstep.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this appeal.

Koh Tao Shark Project update

In preparation for the meeting of leaders at the Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) on March 14th in Bangkok, The Koh Tao Shark Project is having a shark day! We will be unveiling our new shark nursery, where we intend to raise sharks and tag them before releasing them back into the wild, along with our new shark education centre at the Save Koh Tao office. We will also be conducting our next shark survey at Shark bay, but this month with a twist - we will have the usual snorkellers identifying and recording Blacktip and other reef shark populations at Shark Bay, but we will also have a team of divers looking for Bamboo Shark eggs to put into our new nursery!

                             

The nursery has now been constructed outside the Big Blue Conservation Ecolab, where they get constant protection and maintenance. Eggs and juveniles Bamboo sharks will be raised to a healthy size, tagged, and we will record the sex, size, health and any distinguishing features, then release these beauties back into our waters. This is all in a hope to protect and preserve our shark populations on Koh Tao, now that marine zoning laws mean they are more protected from fishing than before.
Come down and visit our nursery, our join in our shark-tastic day later this month!! (Exact date TBC.)

Having a ball!!

Team Big Blue went out to fix some of the mooring lines around Koh Tao last week, including deploying a new line at King Kong and fixing one of the mooring lines at Japanese Gardens from an old polystyrene box to a proper buoy as supplied by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

But why do we make buoy lines on Koh Tao? Well, dropping anchors can cause massive structural damage ot the reefs around Koh Tao, and so to reduce this damage,  The Save Koh Tao Group and the Thai Navy began a marine zoning and mooring line project in March 2009. Since the start of this project, nearly every dive site has the appropriate mooring lines and buoys. Snorkelling areas, small boats tie offs, boat lanes, and ‘no boat’ areas also have their own particular markers, such as yellow buoy lines for snorkelling areas, as part of the island zoning project. It is hoped that by working with the local community for the installation, maintenance, and repair of these buoys that we can increase the amount of education and awareness about human impacts on coral reefs and reduce those impacts for Koh Tao.
At Big Blue, we use these buoys everyday at the dive sites. By replacing and maintaining the existing lines, we help ensure this project's success. A big thanks to the nine Big Blue DMTs and Marine Conservation Interns who joined the project and thanks to Save Koh Tao for putting on the fantastic mooring line workshops  last week.

A dream job opportunity!

Calling all aspiring marine conservationists! A very rare job opportunity has presented itself as we are looking to expand our marine conservation department. We are looking for a marine project scientist for a year minimum, in-country PAID position, to start ASAP.

Essential requirements are:

  • BSc in a relevant field (Masters preferred)
  • Tropical marine fieldwork experience (previous experience in volunteer supervision preferred)
  • Divemaster qualification or higher (any agency is fine, SSI preferred) with own equipment
  • Can show dedication to conservation and highly motivated

Duties will include:

  • Volunteer supervision and training through our expedition conservation skill development program
  • Organising events and conservation activities such as artificial reef construction and beach and underwater clean-ups
  • Assist other Big Blue conservation staff and act as a role model and advocate for conservation
  • Assisting with reporting project updates and research
  • Maintenance of science equipment inventories and requesting re-supplies
  • Regular meetings with local stakeholders at the Save Koh Tao meetings
  • General training site maintenance and promotion
Personal benefits include
  • Author and co-author Big Blue Conservation publications and reports
  • Enhance research experience
  • Live on our beautiful tropical island as part of the Big Blue family
  • Diving opportunities and enhance your dive training
  • Liaise with local communities
If you think you have all this then please send a CV with a short explanation of yourself and career goals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

School visit to learn about the coral

What a fantastic day! We had 12 local school children come to Big Blue today to learn all about protecting the coral and fish, and about shark conservation too.

When the kids arrived, we taught them some of the do's and don'ts of the ocean, and they even contributed some themselves, such as don't touch the coral, don't feed the fish and always wait an hour before going into the water after applying sunscreen. Then we had the chance to show them some mushroom coral specimens and for some of the kids, this was their first time seeing them! We also had a sea cucumber in our new classroom tanks, which made quite an impression when it nearly climbed out of the tank.

Next, the kids helped us support shark conservation by colouring in their own Stanley Shark (www.sharkdefenders.com) and we took them down to the beach to have a photograph which we will now send to officials who decide which shark species to protect from international trade.

All the kids had a fantastic day and I'm pleased to say I could see some budding marine biologists in the group! See you soon kids, and remember - save the seas!!

           

Ghost fishing nets... haunting our ocean

Ghost fishing nets aren't your average poltergeist, these ghosts actually exist. It’s the term used for discarded or lost fishing gear adrift at sea. These ghostly veils glide through the oceans ensnaring all marine life which comes into its path, causing long-lasting and widespread damage. Thousands of these nets and long line fishing devices are lost and discarded each year through entanglement or lost in storms. Other types of fishing gear drags along the ocean floor damaging everything in its path, also traps and pots are lost at sea becoming a permanent trap. Very often the only way these nets are stopped is when they become ensnared on coral reefs or underwater mounts such as pinnacles. Once entangled the nets wrap around the reefs breaking off coral and killing the fish which use the reef as a home destroying these vital marine habitats. This is a threat to all marine life from whales to coral, with increasing incidents over the past two decades and the mass increase in the demand for food from the oceand making this a global threat to marine ecosystems.

There is hope on the horizon, use of innovative modern technology, new government legislation and the introduction of biodegradable fibres will hopefully stop the nets haunting the oceans in years to come. Technological innovation such as sound and magnetic devices will hope to deter larger sea creatures such as whales, sharks and dolphins from venturing too close and risking becoming ensnared.

           

You too can help us counteract this threat by getting involved in local beach and reef clean ups, not only removing lost fishing gear but also removing any debris which we don't want to end up as fish food.

When out diving if ever you see a fishing net please let your dive leader or instructor know so that an on hand conservationist can jump into action, dive knife in hand, and save the seas!! If you don’t know how to remove a net, then here are a few tips:

1.Start on the outer edges, especially if freely floating, and roll the net in towards where it is snagged

2.To release the net from anything it is snagged onto, do so carefully, so as not to cut yourself or rip off any coral – this will actually do more harm than good! If anything has started to grow over the net, cementing it to the reef, cut around it and leave it there – it’s been incorporated into the ecosystem now!

3.Scissors are best, as using a knife can pull the line tighter around a fish or coral and cause harm. But if only a knife is available, then cut away from you and the sea creature

4.As always, be extra careful when handling marine life – if they’re stuck, they’ll think you mean danger and try to swim away, which can make them more tangled. Sea urchins love the algae growing on discarded nets, so be careful of these spikey critters

5.You can use lift bags or SMBs to help keep any removed net from floating around, just make sure no one is above you first

6.And watch yourself too! Don’t get entangled and always obey you own diving parameters

7.As always, prevention is even better than action, so try to avoid buying fish that have been caught using trawl nets, pots, traps and long line. Buy them from local fishermen to get the best freshness, help the local economy, lower your carbon foot print and ensure they were sustainably caught!

Tuna in next time for some more eco tips (couldn’t resist).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From all of us at Big Blue Conservation - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

I hope you have been enjoying your festive season so far, including eating silly amounts and celebrating in the most festive way - whilst being as eco friendly as possible of course!

At Big Blue, we never fail to be Eco friendly - even our Christmas tree are recyclable! Check this out:

Understandably, we have to drink bottled water in Thailand - so what happens to the thousands of used plastic bottles every day? We recycle all our plastic bottles at Big Blue, and not just to make Christmas trees! In fact, the Thai Government pay 12 baht a kilo for recycling them, and so some Thai's make a living recycling. So when you've finished, find the nearest recycling bin, or re-fill them.

What about our straw and plastic bag tinsel? A trip to 7 Eleven for a can of coke and a water and you get separate bags and 2 straws. But do we really need all that plastic? Unfortunately, plastic bags and straws contribute significantly to the plastic content in the sea, to the point were plastic plankton now exceeds normal plant plankton. So if you can, please say no to straws and plastic bags!

Do you like our battery ball-balls?? I think they look great on the tree, but in the sea they leak sulphuric acid and can affect the water as much as a kilometre away. Not too nice for the fish. We recycle our batteries, as do most places around the world, including supermarkets, so find your local battery recycle depot when you have a chance.

And finally our ring-pull star! Ring pulls are collected by a Thai charity which melts them down to make the hinges of prosthetic limbs! so help us donate to them and deposit your ring-pulls in the box next to our counter in the restaurant. Cheers!

So have a very merry-eco-friendly-recycling-crazy-Christmas everybody!

Marine conservation celebrity in town!!

Koh Tao is a beautiful paradise, full of amazing white sand beaches, incredible and variable cuisine, fantastic divers, adorable wildlife and breathtaking reefs. But right now it's EVEN BETTER!! Why? Well the geek inside me express how cool this is..

The Chagos archipelago is an array of 55 tiny islands, which contains the largest coral atoll on earth and over 60,000 square km of the shallow limestone reef and associated habitats, and about 300 seamounts and abyssal habitats. Chagos contains some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs and the cleanest sea water, sediments and marine life tested so far in the world.  It is by far Britain’s greatest area of marine biodiversity and a reservoir of biodiversity for an over exploited ocean.

 

On 1st April 2010, the British Government announced the creation of the Chagos Marine Reserve. This designation of a fully no-take marine protected area (MPA) out to the 200 mile limit created the largest marine reserve in the world, a conservation legacy almost unrivalled in scale and significance. It will contribute greatly to a number of globally agreed targets, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity target to protect 10% of the oceans by 2020.

No other action taken by the United Kingdom makes anything like such a considerable contribution to these agreed global targets. This decision undoubtedly establishes the UK as a world leader in marine conservation for the benefit of all nations.

 

Prof Charles Sheppard was and still is a leading scientist in the diversity and ecology of the Chagos Marine Reserve, and his wife, Dr Anne Sheppard, is the editor of the Chagos news. These two amazing contributors to marine conservation are actually here on Koh Tao right now! We are very lucky to have them here, and they plan to do a few takls, presentations and marine dives with some of us on koh Tao to impart their vast wisdom. Watch this space for dates and times of their talks - I'll be in the front row!

Visit and donate to The Chagos Conservation Trust at Chagos-Trust.org

The Big Shark Release 2013

Each year 73 million sharks are killed for their fins. 64 species of sharks were named as Endangered by the IUCN last year. Many restaurants in Thailand sell shark steaks or shark fin soup. So one island and one city in Thailand decided to do something about it!

Last year in September, Koh Tao hosted the Swim for Sharks 2013. 76 people swam 3.4 km around an island, 31 people shaved fins into their heads, and they raised over 120,000 baht for shark conservation. Unfortunately, a huge number of businesses from restaurants to hotels and conference centres display sharks in tanks or serve shark fin soup all around the world.

So Dive Tribe and The Swim for Sharks decided to use the money raised to purchase sharks on display in tanks in Thailands restaurants and hotels, and sharks from markets being sold for their meat, and educate the owners as to why they should not keep sharks in tanks or fish them. These sharks are special too - over 70 sharks will be tagged with RF and simple identification tags so that when we do release them, we can monitor their movements, where we see them and if any turn up in the markets again, we can get an idea of where they are mainly being fished. All data will be monitored in the Koh Tao Shark Survey, a public data entry forum where you too can participate, if you ever spot a shark on Koh Tao. This information will help us understand the populations around our island and help us protect and conserve these valuable apex predators.

Together with Dive Tribe in Pattaya, Big Blue Conservation is housing the Koh Tao Shark release. So if you're looking for a good time of year to visit us, make sure its around the 7th - 8th of February. There will be a chance to adopt your own shark and name the tag, and even release the shark yourself! Don't miss this!

The best Eco T-shirts I've seen!

The best T-shirts I've seen in a long while! Eco Intern Swan and Instructor Anne are both sporting excellent eco-friendly T-shirts. Where did you get them from girls - they're great!

The silent killer

Can you hear it? No? Neither can I, but I assure you it is happening. Tragically and silently, human carelessness results in precious marine life being killed by man-made waste in the ocean…every day. So on behalf of the ocean we ask for your help: because together we can stop this silent killer before it is too late. We need people like you, people who care about the ocean, to take a stand with us! In today’s “throw-away” society, it is all too easy to forget that we are drowning the ocean planet in our trash like plastic bottles and bags: plastics that never biodegrade in the ocean and instead break down into even smaller pieces that remain a danger to marine animals that mistake them for food. The impact is both massive and horrific, and we urgently need your help to stop this. Please offer your support for our weekly Beach & Land clean up meeting every Saturday from 10am at our Big Blue Conservation Eco Shack. Or for more details please write to Eco Jen on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Think Globally, Act Locally!

A swimming success!!

 

Wow is all I can say! We had an absolutely amazing day at the Swim for Sharks 2012 on Koh Tao! It all kicked off with a shark ecology and conservation lecture by marine biologist Jen Matthews, followed by a talk by James Brooks who has been on the Sea Shepard expeditions for the last 3 years. Around 100 people came to learn about the sharks and what we can do to help. So what did we do to help?? We swam! 72 people swam the 3.4 km around Koh Nang Yuan. Everyone did really well, with the winning title going to Nick Bufton from Big Blue, followed by Serena Gibbons (BIg Blue) and our very own manager of Big Blue - Jim Donaldson. Well done you guys!

After the looong hard swim, we all cam back to the bar for some refreshments (wink wink)! But people were still thinking about next years swim and started streamlining themselves - by shaving their heads!? Everyone got involved and no-one had any regrets the next day at work... We had live music from Nok la Fiesta and The Curious Turtles who were all great!

So how much did we raise - well thanks to T shirt sales, swimmers sponsorship, donations from the bar, donations from our shark shavers, and generous other donations, we raised.....drum roll please... 123,000 baht!!

All the money raised will go toward purchasing sharks kept in captivity in Pattaya and Bangkok,  and releasing them with a radio tag attached so that we can monitor their behaviours and population dynamics around Thailand. Thanks to the money raised, we can help keep our reefs diverse and functioning as they should. Plus they're quite fun to see when you dive!

A huge thank you must go out to all of those that helped with the event - James, Ami, Bethan, Becky and Darren. See you all next year - I'm starting my training now!

           

Great news!

Great news from Save Koh Tao's Marine Conservation branch - the new Director for the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) is so impressed with the work that members of the Koh Tao community have been doing the last 4 years that he has promised up tons of new artificial reef structures and other assistance. Next year he plans to add artificial reefs in every Adopt-A-Reef site, including ours in Sairee to be used in conjunction with the coral nursery tables, which we will also be getting more of.

Another bonus, the 6 dive schools involved in the Adopt-A-Reef program will be getting certifications and recognition from the DMCR and Thai Government for their work, get the DMCR logo on their schools, get special certification cards with the DMCR logo, and get promoted in DMCR and related (TOT, etc) publications and signage!

Congratulations and thank you to Ban's, Big Blue, Crystal, Koh Exist, New Heaven, and Sunshine for all your hard work and dedication over the years! See what a small dive community can do?!

Vote now for our Ocean Project!

Unfortunately litter and improper disposal of rubbish is a major problem throughout Asia, and one that we have been trying to tackle from many fronts on our island over the last few years. We already have great efforts in place to help keep our island clean, such as our monthly clean-ups. But to improve our islands preservation and keep our paradise clean, Save Koh Tao and members of the community are proposing to start a collection of programs that will together attack the issue from all sides in the form of a master plan. It is our goal that this will not only greatly decrease the amount of litter and marine debris around our island and be positive for the local community, but will also make our island an example for other places in the region to manage their waste more effectively and holistically.

The four programs involved in this master plan are: (1) Beach and Road Bin Installation (2) Daily/weekly island clean-up crew (3) Anti-plastic and foam box Campaign (4) Signage on beaches and roads. the project will involve many members of the community, including dive schools, local business and the Thai community.

Project AWARE have started a competition that would award the winners a chance to start up a community conservation effort such as this - help us win and vote for us online now! Please click the link to vote!! Your votes count! We have submitted a proposal for Waste and debris management here on Koh Tao and if we get the most votes Project AWARE Ocean Action Project will help this proposal be put forward and undertaken. Please tell your colleagues and friends to vote as this really will help make a difference. Thankyou for your support!  http://www.facebook.com/ProjectAWAREFoundation

Swim for Sharks is a week away!!

Sharks are experiencing unprecedented population declines worldwide due to overfishing. Recent estimates suggest that populations of large sharks have declined by 90% or more in areas where they were once abundant, such as on Koh Tao. We used to have the pleasure of diving with Leopard sharks at White Rock, Bull sharks at Chumphon Pinnacle, Bamboo sharks at Aow Leuk, but unfortunately a shark sighting is less frequent than ever before. And with the pressures still increasing with shark numbers still declining, if we don't do something to help now, we could lose these 400 million year old evolutionary distinct fish forever.

The united voice and effort from a dedicated community of divers like us on Koh Tao is all it takes to help re-establish shark populations and reduce the rate of decline for the wonderful creatures in our local waters! And that's just what we plan to do! So nearly 100 divers from Koh Tao and divers from Pattaya plan to swim 3.4km to raise awareness and funds for shark conservation!

We have already raised around 15,000 baht promised from sponsors of the swimmers, and we expect to triple that on the day! After the big swim, we also have a BIG party, with live music, prize giving, head shaving, film crew, jaeger bombs and BBQ! Come and join in the fun and watch some of our very own compete for the title of the faster swimmer! The big names so far include Big Blue Diving manager Jim, SSI Instructor trainer Simon, Divemaster Mentor Nick and Freediving/Scuba instructor Serena (who did the whole 3.4 km last year in 59 minutes!) It's August 11th, the swim is at 12.30, (talk on shark conservation from 10 and evening events start at 7.30pm), and although it's busy season, we all need a little challenge and a good party to let our hair down (or shave it off...). This is all in support of raising funds and awareness of our sharks in Koh Tao - we have teamed with DiveTribe to purchase radio tags to attach to sharks to be released on Koh Tao in December, and help protect our existing populations with research and support. Thanks everyone, and if you're not here and still want to support this, you can still donate online - drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information!

The tale of the mudtrail

Although they look like contrails from aircraft, these lines are actually plumes of mud left behind shrimp trawlers. Scientists have known for years that when fishing trawlers drag nets and gear across the ocean bottom they trap or kill almost all the fish, mollusks and other creatures they encounter. And the dragging destroys underwater features like reefs, turning the bottom to mud. Fish cannot see in water that is murky with suspended sediment. The mud can also clog their gills and set off algae blooms, which, in turn, lead to vast increases in bacteria. Ultimately, the result is a dead zone. Additionally, studies report that oil from previous spills cover the ocean floor, and that many shrimp catches are covered in oil dredged from the bottom.

        

Unfortunately, the majority of shrimp is obtained from trawlers which destroy reefs and substrate where other fish, including Tuna, like to stay, making shrimp an incredibly unsustainable (and rather oily!) seafood to eat! So please keep this in mind when ordering shrimp - ask if it was sustainably farmed. It doesn't hurt to ask, especially when our health is involved!

The good news, Dr. Daniel Pauly director of the fisheries center at the University of British Columbia said, is that trawlers and their mudtrails can be seen so clearly that it would in theory be possible to monitor fishing by satellite. Even if captains of individual boats do not want to cooperate in such efforts, Dr. Pauly said, “we can see what they do.” We're watching you trawlers...always watching...

Koh Tao Diveguide App.!

Introducing Koh Tao's very own Iphone app.!! This app contains all information needed to dive around Koh Tao, as well as some great information about the marine life you find here, conservation on Koh Tao, general diving etiquette and even how to blow bubble rings! It is an essetial guide for anyone interested in diving as you can see all the fish life you will encounter, corals, detailed dive site maps, reef conservation, hand signals, and lots more.

Features:

✓ Dive sites with the detailed descriptions and underwater dive maps!

✓ Corals and Fish list

✓ Hand signals

✓ Fish signs

✓ Buddy checks, diving tips and hits

✓ Safety information and Emergency assistance

✓ Become a Bubble Rings Master!

Visit the famous Koh Tao Dive Guide at http://www.dive-guide.org/

Stay tuned for more updates: Similans, Sharm El Sheikh and more locations coming in the next updates!

           

Make it safe for Sharks to get back in the water!

We all know that SHARKS need our help. Shark numbers are rapidly decreasing in Thailand and many divers have commented on the lack of shark sightings, even in our protected National Marine Parks. Over the last few years tourism and overfishing have all had a negative impact on our oceans around Thailand. On Koh Tao we have seen half the number of Whalesharks than last year. What we do see though, is a great many sharks in Thailand in the restaurants and pet shops. Tanks of Black Tip Reef Sharks an be seen for sale in Pattaya & Bangkok for the pet trade and large amounts of Bamboo & Zebra Sharks for sale at restaurants.

The Swim for Sharks 2011 is a statement by our small diving community to help protect sharks. We will be ditching our fins in favour of the more traditional sport of swimming! Participants will swim around Koh Nang Yuan unaided, but if you want to wear fins, that's OK too!

As a diver, what can you do to help? This year, we are joining Dive Tribes mission and the money raised from this years Swim For Sharks is going towards the purchase of these sharks to release into back into the waters around Koh Tao and Pattaya, and to buy Radio tags in order to monitor their health and movements. We don't expect the sharks to stay here, but there will be a higher chance of sightings if they are in the water in general, and are able to roam free, reproduce and visit our small island. So come along, even if you don't want to swim, learn more about sharks and conservation and help us raise the money needed to replenish our shark population.

Last year, Koh Tao's dive community raise over 17,000 baht and over 400 signatures for anti-shark finning campaign support - lets see if we can beat that this year!!
 
Come join us on August 12th for the big swim!

10 - 11 Meet at Big Blue Dive Resort for registration and welcome drinks

11 - 12 Shark conservation talk and petition signing

1 - 4 Swim time!! Swim 3.4 km around Koh Nang Yuan

7 - late Evening festivities including sponsored Shave for Sharks, live music, and drink deals (Big Blue 2 - Pranee resort)

Save our sharks, save our seas!

The Greener the Cleaner

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Beach and Underwater Clean up yesterday! 36 people joint in Big Blue's monthly clean up operation - which just keeps getting bigger! With being made a Green Star resort, we are greener than ever, and now cleaner too.

Here's 10 things you can do to help keep the oceans clean

1. Avoid purchasing souvenirs made from coral or any threatened or endangered marine species.

2. Support the establishment of coral reef protected areas and encourage better protection and management for those that exist.

3. While travelling, choose resorts and tour operators that properly treat all sewage and wastewater.

4. Never throw rubbish, cigarette ends over-board and never support tourist aimed fish-feeding entertainment

5. As a diver or snorkeler, choose tour operators that use mooring buoys or drift diving techniques whenever possible rather than anchors that can cause reef damage.

6. Make wise choices in selecting seafood by avoiding menu items that are caught or farmed using destructive or unsustainable practices including reef-killing poisons, explosives, and illegal equipment. All fish served at the Big Blue restaurant is supplied by local fishermen using sustainable fishing methods.

7. Avoid purchasing tropical wood furniture or products obtained from clear-cut tropical forests causing siltation damage to coral reefs.

8. As a diver, practice buoyancy control skills in a pool or sandy area before diving near a coral reef. Make sure your gauges and equipment are secured to avoid accidental contact with the reef, and never touch, stand on, or collect coral.

9. Report all damage of coral reefs to dive operators and scientific or conservation groups that monitor coral reef health.

10. Enroll in Eco-specialty courses to increase your knowledge about coral reefs and other aquatic environments. (Underwater Naturalist, Marine ID, Peak Performance Buoyancy, CoralWatch, PADI Project AWARE Specialty, SSI ECOlogical monitoring programme, Reef Check EcoDiver.)

           

Fancy a swim?

It's big, it's challenging, it happens every year, once a year, and it's all in the name of shark conservation. Fancy a swim? Any idea what I'm talking about? Well just be on Koh Tao for August 11th and you will see... this year is bigger and better, including the evening entertainment - start preparing for those mohawks boys!

Big Blue has become a Green Star centre!

There’s more to going green than simply jumping on the eco bandwagon, especially as more and more of our visitors are looking to stay in eco-friendly resorts that constantly act on conservation and are dedicated to preserving their paradise. It's eay enough to say you're eco-friendly, but can you actually prove it?

We can! Big Blue has been awarded with... drum roll please... The PADI Green Star Award!! The Green Star award is a prestigious recognition of active involvement in reducing environmental impact and increasing education and awareness of conservation issues. To be awarded, we had to prove that we used rain-caught water to supplement our water supply, that we are fuel and energy clean and efficient, that we recycled EVERYTHING, that we train conservationists and contribute significantly to research, and that we continue to set conservation goals to become even more responsible as a dive resort. We are proud to be Eco, and to be awarded the Green Star is a great achievement, so thank you PADI!

This award helps identify the eco-friendly resorts, so have a look for the Green Star award when you select your dive operator. To find out more about specific actions you can take part in here at Big Blue to preserve and protect the environment, and the challenges we face to continue reducing your environmental footprint, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bleaching publication released!

In light of the increasing occurrence of global coral bleaching events, scientists from Thailand came together to produce a compilation of papers (listed here) covering the major bleaching event in Thai waters in 2010. The papers include those considering the physical factors leading to bleaching; the ecological impacts of the bleaching event and previous bleaching events dating back to 1991; the incidence of disease following bleaching; survival of coral recruits post-bleaching and management strategies employed by the Thai government to mitigate damage to the reefs during the bleaching period.

Big Blue Conservation's Jen, along with Dr Thamasak Yeemin (Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok) and Dr Bert Hoeksema (NCB Naturalis, Netherlands) contributed to this compilation with an article describing the 2010 coral bleaching event and its impact on the mushroom coral fauna of Koh Tao. This kind of science research is something we pride ourselves in at Big Blue, as it will help us learn more about our environment and why bleaching occurs to help prevent or protect our reefs from future episodes, as well as increasing public awareness. Great job guys!

If you fancy a read during your surface interval, you can download a copy of the article here or see our publications page for more details.

           

A SIGN of Support

A round of applause to Big Blue for your support for sharks! We submitted 486 signatures to Project AWARE's Shout of for Sharks petition to persuade international organsations that control the shark fishing trade that we want these beautiful apex predators protected from destructive fishing practices driving them to extinction.

Project AWARE have now hit the 100k mark which is a incredible achievement and a clear message to policy makers. AWARE has been very successful in unifying our diving voice and representing the dive community at this high level. We’re so pleased to have you with us.

We recently just returned from a meeting with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to discuss shark protection through CITES. The meeting was very constructive and paves the way for future discussions. And we’re gearing up for more of these meetings over the coming months. It’s a critical time for shark conservation and we’re really making waves at this level.

If you would like to sign the petition, please email or post your signatures to us asap so we can record them. You can download a petition form and take it around to all your friends and family too. And if you love sharks as much as us, don't forget you can do an Shark Conservation speciality with us and join our annual Swim4Sharks event in August.

Big Blue stole the show!

Big Blue participated in the 4th annual Save Koh Tao Festival again this year - and we were awesome! If you've seen the previous years shows when we rocked to Grease, then zombie strutted to Thriller, and last year we bounced along to Riverdance! Well, we couldn't let down our fans this year, and we showed the 10,000 people watching how we \ren't just amazing divers, but we can dance pretty well too! We stole the show with our Evolution of Dance performance - which included some pretty great Elvis moves, the chicken dance, a bit of break-dancing, and even a spot of line-dancing. Such a talented bunch we are. Stay tuned for the video - it's a given you'll start to dance along to it.

The rest of the Save Koh Tao Festival was a great success, with turtle releases, giant clam relocations, beach and underwater clean ups, photo and film contests, lots of fundraising and even more eco-friendly awareness accomplishments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the dance and helped out at the marine conservation daytime events - we're one big green mean fighting machine!

           

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Well I have to say, what a great success Earth Day was at Big Blue yesterday! Earth day is an annual event on April 22nd to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment, and how we showed our appreciation! To start with, a dedicated bunch collected over 200 kgs of rubbish from Sairee beach, including a lot of chicken heads! Not what you want to be sunbathing next to i think! But no worries - we cleared them all up, the sand is polished and fish much happier. Then we headed out on a FREE dive to clear rubbish from under the sea - again, a great success collecting over 100 kgs of marine debris such as plastic bags which can kill marine life like turtles. Everyone had a great day helping out, and if you want to get involved, we do a Beach adn Underwater clean up on the last Saturday of each month, so come join in!

But the fun didn't end there. Big Blue was joint by Crystal and Phoenix dive schools in a Beach Volleyball tournament, which raised over 1,500 baht for Shark conservation, including 96 signatures in support of shark protection. Phoenix Divers were the overall winners - beating every team they challenged! Well done Phoenix! Bad luck Big Blue, but at least we beat Crystal.

After the Beach Volleyball, we all joint forces in the bar to show off our match scars and participate in the Earth Day Raffle. Aquamaster, Big Blue Conservation Big Blue Diving, Big Blue Tech, Higher Ground Bar and Phoenix divers all donated prizes , and we raised over 7000 baht to go towards providing materials for more people to organise beach and underwater clean ups around the world, helping to keep our oceans clean and healthy. A huge thanks to everyone who came along and supported the day - it was such a great success! Join us again next year! And Phoenix beware....we have already started practising...

           

All clams on board!

Divers from Big Blue and New heaven joined forces to restore the giant clam population on Sairee Beach yesterday. Over the last year, we have been cultivating over 300 clams in a nursery off Aow Leuk bay, and yesterday we took 69 of them to their new home in Sairee!

Clams are filter feeding invertebrates who keep our water quality nice and clean. Due to predation, pollution and people collecting them to use their shells for jewellery, ornaments and for the aquarium trade, our populations of clams on Sairee have depleted and need a little help. So, 25 divers from Big Blue and New Heaven came together to re-home some of the nursery clams. When clams reach over 15cm, they begin to put down a permanent "foot" using strong muscle fibres. We took clams from the nursery that were around 12-14 cm and relocated them to suitable areas on Sairee. Now they are settling into their new home, and we will keep a close watch on our new reef additions!

           

No more fishing on Koh Tao!

Today was a good day in the fight for stopping illegal fishing. . .Yesterday the Fisheries Department found a non-local boat using cages to fish in the protected zone around Koh Tao, and arrested all 5 on board, including the captain. On board we found hundreds of fish, including; scribbled filefish, trigger fish, bat fish, big groupers, cobia, sweetlips, and of course tons of snapper, rabbit fish, and fusilers. they had also been collecting large cowrie shells.

Today they made the captain return to the locations were his cages are placed (with the Marine police, the local government, and members of Save Koh Tao) to empty the cages. Rosemary Allen of FilmCo was there and got it all on tape, so stay tuned to see the video with interviews from the people involved.

Great job Save Koh Tao! Glad to be working with you!

           

Shark divers are us!

Today fun divers at Big Blue are doing a shark dive trip! Koh Tao has a few areas where reef sharks use as a nursery, and so our divers are going to say hello later today - lucky things!

Overfishing. Finning. Endangered. These are words we shouldn’t associate with critically important ocean species like sharks. But sadly, these words are now commonplace in the shark world.

Fortunately, as a strong and growing movement for the ocean – divers and our allies are standing together to demand the end of the international shark slaughter, and insist that the ocean be restored. Science tells us sharks are critical to healthy and thriving marine ecosystems. When sharks are slaughtered, the ecosystems are worse off. When we stop killing them, ecosystems can thrive once more.

The good news is, by putting our plans into action with your support and that of our many fellow divers, we can do the work to make that change happen.

           

During the coming months we’ll engage divers at Big Blue in sharks on Koh Tao and help put pressure on world governments to protect vulnerable shark species at the highest level by asking them to sign the petition aimed at asking the government to protect them – through the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).  CITES is the world’s largest, most effective wildlife agreement in existence.  The next meeting of CITES takes place in March 2013 and with our divers support we will be there to advance a multi-year effort to control international trade in vulnerable shark species. Through CITES, our conservation community was able to rein in the uncontrolled trade in marine turtles that was threatening many of these species with extinction. As a result turtle populations are recovering worldwide. We can do this work successfully for sharks as well - with your help.

If you want to sign the Project AWARE petition, follow this link.

The Naked truth of Nudibranchs

Nudibranchs, commonly known as sea slugs, are beautiful, diverse and incredibly intriguing marine gastropods. They curious creatures are snails with out shells, and breathe through branch like structures on their back (hence the name nuibranch or "naked branch") and come in an arrange of striking forms and colours. They are hemrphrodites and lay eggs within a gelatinous spiral. Something really quite stiking though, is someimes you can see many of the same species, all together. This rare behviour has been termed "trailing behaviour": Also known as queueing or tail-gating, all species of the chromodorid genus Risbecia exhibit this behaviour where they seem to play "follow the leader". Perhaps its a behaviour which has evolved amongst relatively uncommon animals to ensure they find each other for mating. When tailing, one animal appears to follow the mucous trail of the other until they actually make contact. Then the following animal, as can be seen in thse photos, keeps contact by touching the 'tail' of the leader. Sometimes 3 or 4 animals can be seen together. Pretty cool huh? And if that isn't enough - the steal their defense mechanisms from their prey - Nudibranchs that feed on hydroids can store the hydroids' nematocysts (stinging cells) in their skin. These stolen nematocysts, called kleptocnidae, wander through the alimentary tract without harming the nudibranch. Once further into the organ, the cells are brought to specific placements on the creature's hind body via intestinal protuberances. And I thought they were just really colourful...

photo credit: Dr Bert Hoeksema

Accumulating Microscopic Plastic Threaten Our Shores

Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned.Researchers traced the "microplastic" back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they were washed. Earlier research showed plastic smaller than 1mm were being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain.The findings appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. "Research we had done before... showed that when we looked at all the bits of plastic in the environment, about 80% was made up from smaller bits of plastic," said co-author Mark Browne, an ecologist now based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "This really led us to the idea of what sorts of plastic are there and where did they come from." Dr Browne, a member of the US-based research network National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, said the tiny plastic was a concern because evidence showed that it was making its way into the food chain. "Once the plastics had been eaten, it transferred from [the animals'] stomachs to their circulation system and actually accumulated in their cells," he told BBC News. In order to identify how widespread the presence of microplastic was on shorelines, the team took samples from 18 beaches around the globe, including the UK, India and Singapore. "We found that there was no sample from around the world that did not contain pieces of microplastic." There's not much we can do as divers about these microscopic pieces (unless you have Superman's telescopic ability...) but if you want to help us clean up larger pieces of palstic contributing to this accumulation, join us for a FREE DIVE on the last Saturday of every month on our Koh Tao Clean Up mission.

Technical Meets Marine Conservation again!

We all knew the techies like to do things of DEEPest importance, so over the past few days Big Blue Tech teamed up with Big Blue Conservation to be involved in a reef clean-up project. Our 2 premier dive sites here on Koh Tao had fishing nets reportedly on them ranging from 35m to 18m which were causing not only a detriment to divers visiting the dive sites but also were trapping the marine life. As this kind of project requires a certain knowledge level and expertise from a number of different sources we had a technical dive team (Cav & James) who were conducting the bottom/working phase of the dives, this meant that these guys could run into decompression if necessary and things would all be fine as everything was planned much deeper and longer than the actual depths. We also had a fish and marine expert (Emma), she was heavily involved in the organising of the actual trip and the person who was to brief all divers on dangerous and delicate marine life that was or may be caught in these nets. Also as with any project we couldn't have done this without the shallow support divers (Jason, Chris, Sarah & Rachel) and our fantastic surface cover guys (Nick, Stina & Sarah) who are simply there for the safety of the underwater teams, this requires great concentration and organisation to check everyone in and out of the water and make sure all limits were adhered to with respect to time and depth. The team managed to pull lots of fishing net off the pinnacles and save lots of the marine life that was entangled within them. Unfortunately there was a lot of dead fish that had been trapped for a number of days prior to us getting there which is a little upsetting. Now these nets are removed and everything is back to normal on these tropical paradise reef environments, the visibility is improving and the dive sites are ready and waiting for divers to come exploring. Congratulations to all divers involved in this project and thank you (from the deepest deco-depths of our hearts) for giving your time and efforts.

           

Cheers Cookie!

Big Blue's DMT Cookie offered to shave his hair & beard on Xmas eve if people were willing to donate money to Big Blue Conservation & Save Koh Tao. DMT Dave grabbed the clippers, Cookie's hair came off and over 6,000 baht was raised. Hats (& hair) off for Cookie!

Great News for Sharks!!

We have great shark news to share with you. Two important steps for sharks have been taken in the past week as a result of all your hard work, spreading the word, shouting for sharks and petition signing! On November 22nd, the European Commission announced the long awaited proposal for closing the loopholes in the European Union’s ban on shark finning. And the European Union has become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Sharks.

European fishing fleets play a major role in shark fishing worldwide with a number of loopholes in legislation which have long threatened sharks not just in European waters but globally too. We’ve been battling this issue for the past few years and you’ve made your voice heard to help us get there. Thank you! In 2012, we’ll be pushing EU Member States to agree to the proposal for a strong, loophole-free EU finning ban. And we’ll be pushing harder for our goal to protect vulnerable shark species from trade under the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at the next CITES meeting in Thailand in 2013. There’s much to be done between now and then. As a member of the Shark Alliance, Big Blue is active in shark research and conservation, and if you like sharks and want to learn more, why not take the SSI Shark Diver Speciality course at Big Blue! Only 1 day, the course includes 2 dives and a special Shark Diver certification card. It's 2,700 baht and all proceeds go to shark conservation. Come give it a go! For now, thank you for supporting shark protection alongside Project AWARE.

Warning! May contain plastic!

In just 25 years, our consumption rate of plastic bags has grown from almost zero to our use of over 500,000,000,000 (that’s 500 billion) plastic bags annually … almost 1 million per minute.According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. * Plastic bags cause hundreds of thousands of birds, sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year because these creatures mistake plastic trash for food. * Countries like China, Ireland, Australia, Bangladesh have banned or have placed restrictions on single use plastic bags. Taiwan banned plastic bag and plastic utensils as a way to reduce 60,000 metric tons of waste per year they deal with each year. * According to the BBC, only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled. At Big Blue, you can bring in your plastic bags and we will reuse them - just look for the plastic bag recycle bin out side the Eco Lab. Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime, which is why we also sell 'bag for life' canvas bags for only 100 baht - 50% of which goes to conservation research at Big Blue! So you can look eco-cool and feel good bout it too! Remember every piece of plastic ever produced and not recycled still exists!

Acid oceans turn 'Finding Nemo' fish deaf

Clownfish, the spectacular tropical species (a.k.a. 'Nemo') appear to lose their hearing in water slightly more acidic than normal. At levels of acidity that may be common by the end of the century, the fish did not respond to the sounds of predators.

The oceans are becoming more acidic because they absorb much of the CO2 that humanity puts into the atmosphere: here's the chemical bit... The oceans are thought to have absorbed about half of the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere in the industrial age. pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity, and seawater is mildly alkaline with a "natural" pH of about 8.2. The IPCC forecasts that ocean pH will fall by "between 0.14 and 0.35 units over the 21st Century, adding to the present decrease of 0.1 units since pre-industrial times". And with carbon emissions continuing to rise, researchers predicted most reefs around the world would be in serious trouble before the end of the century. Sounds are important for fish to detect predators, locate mates, hunting, foraging and if any or all of those capacities are gone, you'd have a very lost fish! The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more the oceans absorb - and the more they absorb, the more acidic the water becomes. So a team of scientisits from Britsol University, UK, tested fish response in seawater with varying degrees of increased acidity - all of which may be the acidity of our oceans if we continue to emit a surplus of CO2. In this experiment, the fish could decide whether to swim towards or away from an underwater loudspeaker replaying the sounds of predators recorded on a reef, with shrimps and fish that would take a small clownfish. In water with today's levels of CO2, the fish spent three-quarters of the time at the opposite end of the tube from the loudspeaker. But at higher concentrations, they showed no preference. This suggests they could not hear, could not decipher or did not act on the warning signals. "What we have done here is put today's fish in tomorrow's environment, and the effects are potentially devastating." Concern about ocean acidification has arisen considerably more recently than alarm over global warming; but already there is ample evidence that it could bring significant changes to ocean life. Will we be able to still Find Nemo??

Mission Accomplished!

Buoyancy World 2.0 is now finally deployed! After waiting for the weather to clear, divers from Koh Tao have finally been able to deploy our new improved diver training center. A huge thank you to everybody who helped out with the Buoyancy World Project - from the ideas, fundraising, building and the deployment, it wouldn't have been possible without out our fantastic dive community effort. A small team of volunteers put in a very hard day of work yesterday and completed the job with no injuries... or problems. Really things could not have gone better – perfect weather, clear water, and a fun group of people. Of course there is still a lot of hard work to be done to assemble all the structures under the water, which the various teams will do over the next week. We can’t wait to unveil this site to the people diving on Koh Tao, and hope that they use it and enjoy as much as we do. Thanks again to everybody who helped yesterday - we can now all look forward to diving it soon!

Update on our favourite sea defenders!

Our favourite anti-whaling crew are causing quite a stir. However, Tokyo, Japan have released that they will go ahead with its whaling program in the Antarctic later this year under heightened security to fend off the Sea Shepherd activists who have vowed to disrupt the annual hunt, the country’s fisheries minister said Tuesday. Japan’s whale hunts have become increasingly tense in recent years because of clashes with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The most recent expedition was cut short after several high-seas confrontations, and it was unclear whether the hunt would be held at all this year. But fisheries minister Michihiko Kano said that measures would be taken to ensure the whalers’ safety, and that the hunt would go ahead. It is expected to begin in December.

“We intend to carry out the research after enhancing measures to assure that it is not obstructed,” he said. Commercial whaling has been banned since 1986, but Japan conducts whale hunts in the Antarctic and the northwestern Pacific under an exception that allows limited kills for "research" purposes. Research, hey? - Whale meat can still be found in stores and restaurants in Japan. Japan’s government claims the research is needed to provide data on whale populations so that the international ban on commercial whaling can be re-examined — and, Japan hopes, lifted — based on scientific studies. Opponents say the program is a guise for keeping Japan’s dwindling whaling industry alive. The Sea Shepherd group, which is already rallying to block the upcoming hunt, has been particularly dogged in its efforts to stop the kills. If you want to help support our friends of the sea's efforts, visit www.seashepherd.org

Buoyancy World Deployment

calling all Eco divers! The weather is still unpredictable, but we are hoping to deploy the Buoyancy World site this Wednesday. We will prepare and be ready, but if the boat captain says no then we may have to postpone to the following week. Stay optimistic, visualize calm seas, and pray for the best. If all goes well the schedule will be as follows:

8:00 am Clean-up site and set-up for ceremony
9:00 am Monk Ceremony
10:00 am Tie up structures and prepare for transportation
11:30 am Load onto trucks and transport to pier
1:30 pm Depart from Mae Haad
2:00 pm Arrive at Twins, attach mooring points
2:30 pm Begin lowering western most structures (deep)
5:30 pm Depart Twins
6:00 pm Return to Mae Haad

Stay tuned for updates!

International Clean Up Day Goes Down a Storm!

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!

           

Shark Shopping Shocker

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!

Recycle your whiteboard markers!

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.

National Shark Release Day - Sept. 4th 2011

“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.

Good Soapy Show Gav!

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...

Absolutely wrecked!

Big Blue Conservation took a trip out to the newest member of our artificial reefs on Koh Tao yesterday - to the HTMS Sattakut. And don't get too jealous, but it was absolutely amazing! Big guns, giant puffers, beatufiul visibility and even a passing turtle! Normally I'm all for cleaning up big bits of metal from the bottom of the ocean, but I may have to leave this one down.
Since deployment only a month ago, the reef has established itself as a habitat increasingly rich in marine life and a unique destination for recreational divers on Koh Tao. Scientific studies on the colonization of the reef will indicate how the reef will settle into an established community. The reef offers a unique opportunity for recreational divers, with appropriate levels of skill and training, to experience a reef community on a relatively intact “wreck” and provide much need wreck diver training experience, the first of its kind on Koh Tao.
The HTMS Sattakut was donated to Koh Tao so that more recreational divers could enjoy and experience native marine life as we learn more about how it behaves and how it responds to the challenges of global environmental change.

           

An artificial day

Big Blue Conservation is venturing out to two of our islands artificial reefs tomorrow. Divers will first visit the HTMS Sattakut, an old navy ship recently sunk off Sairee reef, followed by a dive to our very own electric reef; BioRock. Big Blue played a big part in the deployment of these reefs which help alleviate some of the dive pressure on our natural reefs. And how often do you get to dive a ship that was involved in World War II, and then a reef where coral grows 5 times faster than any other reefs due to the electrolysis property, all in one morning? Now imagine what could happen if we electrolysed the wreck? Next year’s big Eco project for Big Blue, I think.

Floating wetland to help sustain our tourism

Well, with over 30,000 visitors to our 21 square km island last month, our island ecosystem is taking a bit of a battering. Particularly after the Full Moon festivities when there is all that neon paint to wash off, the increased waste water run-off is worse than ever! So in pure Big Blue style, Jen and her Eco minions constructed a floating wetland, which will help to clean the water before it flows out to see. The waste river, affectionately known as 'The Klong', runs straight through the entrance to Big Blue's Resort. We don't actually contribute to it, it comes from resorts it hits before us who have concreted over their section of the Klong, but unlike them we've left it open so we can make a beautiful floating oasis in it! Either that or we can turn it into Big Blue's new mud spa... anyone want first dibs?!

           

EcOlympic success!!

Go Eco! the EcOlympic fundraiser for buoyancy world 2.0 was a huge success yesterday, raising over 5,000 baht to help improve and expand our beloved artificial reef. Big Blue hosted the event, drawing over 200 people to help support our cause! The event included tug-of-war, egg and spoon and sack races, and in the evening beer pong for all! Cheer to everyone who supported the event and helped out - Buoyancy World was designed to alleviate dive pressure from all of us who dive on Koh Tao so its great to see so many divers get involved to help promote low impact diving. There would be no reefs for us to see if we didn't support responsible tourism, so good on you all! Buoyancy World construction start soon, so watch this space if you want to help more!

         

No more fish in the sea?

People eat alot of fish. In fact, per capita fish consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. The problem is that there may not be any more fish if we continue catching and consuming them at this rate. To calculate how many more fish are left in the ocean, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation measures how many of each species were caught each year. Assuming that fisherman are catching everything they can (and they usually are), the logic goes that fluctuations in the number of fish caught gives a fairly good indication of fluctuations in the fish population.
In order to promote this, Selfridges store’s Ultra Lounge was transformed into an underwater wonderland. It was all in aid of new initiative Project Ocean, spearheaded by Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston, which challenges the public to imagine a world with ‘no more fish in the sea’ and encourages them to buy sustainable varieties. Continuing the theme, Noah and the whale provided the entertainment in the specially created Dive Bar (geddit?) watched by eco-minded celebrities. All in all, the whole event went swimmingly! And above all, the benefits of eating sustainable fish were reinforced, much like we are advising here at Big Blue. Check out our Thailand Seafood Selector Chart here.

EcOlympics!!

To raise funds and awareness for this years grand Save Koh Tao project, Buoyancy World 2.0, Big Blue is hosting this years Beach Olympics! With games such as tug-of-war, egg and sppon race, sack race during the day (with more drink orientated games at night of course...) and drink offers all day and night, great DJs and all for a good cause!! So bring you friends, your best beach olympic body and join in the fun! Events start at 5 pm until 10.30pm, when the last contest will be 'how many foam pies can you throw at a member of Big Blue's staff'!! Well, now you really can't miss that!

Success for Anti-Whaling Campaign!

Today we celebrate with you a victory for the oceans! Sea Shepherd has turned the tide and provoked a debate in Japan about whaling. It seems like our friends down the the Antarctic Whaling Sanctuary have finally succeeded in their fight to protect our marine creatures after an article in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News reports – “From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.”

Five years ago the average Japanese citizen gave little thought to Japan's whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Nor did they think much about the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji or the fact that Japanese demand for blue fin tuna has brought this species to the brink of extinction.
Sea Shepherd has changed all that through years of patient, focused, and determined actions to defend marine species from plankton to the great whales. This season the Japanese Whalers have killed 30 to 100 whales, out of a quota of 985, saving about 90 per cent of the whales and leaving a huge dent in the pockets of these murderers. One of our very own Dive Masters James Brook is in his second season with Sea Shepherd, proud of ya buddy!!

Save Koh Tao Festival is approaching!

March may be the best time of the year to be on Koh Tao, not only for the great weather and whale shark migrations, but also for the annual Koh Tao Festival. Come join in this years Save Koh Tao Festival; a two day, Two night celebration of the islands diverse culture and community. Featuring live music from Thai and foreign Raggae, Ska, and World Music Bands as well as DJ's to keep the dancing going till sunrise! So when you've danced your flip flops off at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan the week before, join us on Sairee Beach on March 25th and 26th.
Don't miss dive schools performances (including the most amazing show by Big Blue of course!), Mr and Mrs Koh Tao, and loads of other competitions! All money raised through the event will go directly towards the funding of the three Save Koh Tao branches, Education, Land Conservation and Marine Conservation.
For last year’s festival we released 49 sea turtles, created a nursery with 1,000 baby giant clams, and raised enough money to add grades 7 and 8 to the local school, for the first time ever. During the day we host talks from experts and professionals to raise awareness, display posters and information for anybody interested in marine and land conservation, and have fun activities for visitors of all ages.

Say no to oil drilling around Koh Tao during 2011

Currently, dive sites and marine parks throughout Thailand are being closed in order to halt the destruction of reefs and allow for recovery of corals in areas that were destroyed during last years bleaching event. In case you didn't know, last year's global bleaching event ended in up to 100% death of some reefs in the Andaman, and 78% mortality in the worst hit areas of Koh Tao. But now, in the wake of these issues a new site is being explored/drilled in the Gulf of Thailand by Salamander Energies, less than 55km from Koh Tao. Please join us on our facebook page here and stand together to ask the government to halt drilling activities until the coral reefs have recovered. If sites are being closed to divers (who have a relatively small impact on reefs) than they should also be protected from the wide scale destruction that is caused by the sediment, effluents, and in the worst case soills that are inherent in oil exploration. We know that we all use oil, and cannot stop the drilling. But this is not the time to open new sites. We ask that a moratorium be put on new locations for the next few years, until reefs are better able to withstand the effects of such activities.


This photo shows a bleached coral covered in sediment last summer during the drought. At the time this photo was taken there had been no rain in months (no erosion), yet there was lots of sediment in the sea, very likely due to oil exploration. Many corals can shut down and survive bleaching events provided there are no other disturbances, if bleaching is combined with other stresses such as pollution/nutrification, sedimentation, or changes in water pH/salinity then they will die, like this coral did. (Photo credit: Chad Scott).

A cleaner Koh Tao

Did you know one million plastic bags are used every minute of the day and almost three millions tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water globally each year? Would it surprise you that 80% of all marine debris is plastic? In some areas of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton 6:1, and on Koh Tao, 3 turtles were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags.
So a massive thanks to everyone that helped out at the beach and underwater clean up event yesterday, Koh Nang Yuan is now a cleaner paradise. We had a whopping 52 people participate in our monthly clean up this month, and with 6 million tonnes of debris entering the oceans each year, we needed each one of them. So a big thank you to all who helped out - and they got to see a sail fish too!!

Help keep water plastic free by removing plastic bags and bottles on every recreational dive. All plastics can be collected, just make sure there's nothing living in them first though!

 

Scuba science!

Students at Big Blue are exchanging their BCDs for lab coats and their masks for lab goggles today as they get stuck in to some science! We are collecting samples of algae from corals to investigate the impact of the bleaching last year on symbiotic algae communities. Sound interesting? Come to learn to dive with Big Blue and you could help study the wonderful underwater world with Big Blue Conservation (lab coats not provided).

           

Swim for Sharks Koh Tao 2010!

Divers from all over Koh Tao ditched their scuba gear yesterday in favour of the more traditional sport of swimming. Sounds like we were having a day off? My aching muscles will tell you definately not! In order to raise awareness and support against shark finning, we swam the whole 3km around Koh Nang Yuan! The day helped raise over 300 signatures for Projects AWARE's Help Give Sharks a Fighting Chance campaign, as well as over 17,000 baht to support the work of Shark Alliance and Project AWARE. It was an amazing day - there's alot that we can give for conservation, including our muscles! Well done guys!!
Divers around the world are outraged at the latest Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which rejected proposals for the protection of 8 species of sharks which the IUCN deemed worthy of protection, including Hammerheads, Spiny Dogfish, Porbeagle and Oceanic Whitetip sharks. Currently there are three species of sharks listed as protected from International Trade - the Whale, Great White and Basking sharks. However this year in March, the 8 species failed to recieve the required two-thirds vote majority by just one vote, representing victory for narrow, short-term economic interests over science and the myriad long term benefits of conservation.
To fight this appauling outcome, divers around the world are joining together by signing a petition. Project AWARE will deliver our signatures to CITES Party representatives at the end of this month, so that when the party next meets, that two-thrids majority will be a sure thing.
Declare your concern too, by signing the petition here. In signing the petition you will join divers and activists worldwide calling on parties for the next CItes Conference to:
- Heed all available Scientific advice for limiting shark catches;
- Fully protect shark species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN;
- Set precautionary shark fishing limits (where no advice exists);
- Ensure all shakrs are landed with their fins naturally attached;
- Work with other countries to prepare and promote shark listing proposals for the next CITES Conference and;
- Improve shark trade data collection by taking national action to list all species proposed at CITES 2010 on Appedix III befroe the next CITES meeting in 2013.
We call on governments around the world to heed scientific advice to provide better protection for all sharks and their ocean ecosystem.

Meccano for Eco Divers!

Staff, DMTs and eco warriors alike joined forces yesterday for a full day of meccano making fun! we constructed 6 separate coral nursery structures and put them down off Sairee. Coral nurseries are an excellent way to help the rehabilitation and restoration of reefs, by taking fragments of coral which would otherwise perish in the sand and giving them a nice hard surface to grow! Thanks to everyone that helped - you finally got to play with coral! Great effort and big thanks to Prince of Songkla University for helping us with the project.

2010 has been an extraordinary year around the world. Very warm sea temperatures due to the ENSO effect, coupled with flat, calm seas and intense sunlight on Koh Tao has lead to severe stresses on our corals. Most of the coral bleached, a good proportion of them are currently in a state of recovery and unfortunately a few have died.

In light of these events the people of the Save Koh Tao Group, together with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and scientists from the Prince of Songkhla University have embarked on an ambitious project to regenerate the coral population of our small island. Take a look at our progress! Many dive schools over the island, including Crystal, Bans, New Heaven, Blacktip and of course Big Blue have been working very hard for the last week to put these structures in the water. So come take a look at ours - it's just west of Navakid's buoyline!

           

Constructed Wetland in the "Poonama" canal

Previously, all the grey waste water from the island flowed past the entrance to Big Blue along what we have aptly named the "Poo-nama" canal and straight out to sea without being cleaned or treated. Thanks to Big Blue Conservation, we have successfully built a constructed wetland!
With the help of Save Koh Tao and Wetlands International, we designed a constructed wetland to help purify this water, so that when it flows out to sea, it is not causing as much harm to the environment. Using Cattail reeds, Vetiver grass and Mangrove trees, alot of the nutrients which are harmful to the surrounding reefs will be removed. Additionally, we have installed an air pump to help oxygenate the water. This is part of Big Blue's on going effort to help minimise the impact the high level of tourism has on our beautiful island. So that bad smelling, disgusting looking canal will no longer be known as the "Poo-nama" canal, and shall now be known as beautiful wetland river!
A big thanks to all who helped, we couldn't have completed it without you. Watch this space for pictures of the wetland in all its clean glory in a month

                       

Our New Website!

This is the brand spanking new conservation website! We hope you like it, we would love to hear what you think. If you have any comments, good or bad, or any problems with the site we would be really grateful if you could let us know. Simply email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Constructed Wetland!

Koh Tao has gained exponential popularity over the last five years, however still suffers the primitive waste water system that cannot sustain the current demand. For the last 4 years, companies have been building over the evidence, the grey water stream that runs through Sairee Beach. Big Blue has not covered it up, in an attempt that some day we may be able to improve the water quality that current expels directly into Sairee Bay.
Enter Big Blue Conservation!
Constructed wetlands uses reeds and other wetland plants to filter and recycle waste water through their roots. A constructed wetland consists of a gravel bed on which suitable wetland plants are grown. As water passes through the substrate, it is purified through the activity of bacteria attached to the gravel, plant roots, soil and other particles. The many natural processes operating within constructed wetland ecosystems are dynamic, robust, and offer superior wastewater treatment that is difficult to reproduce mechanically or chemically. The systems can withstand shock loadings and volume changes while maintaining a consistent discharge quality clean enough to be released straight into the oceaan, as the Poonama canal does. There is a growing body of research characterizing the ability of wetland plants to neutralize complex organic compounds including pharmaceuticals and pesticides, thus making it safer for bathers and recycling. They are long lasting, low maintenance and naturally regenerative. As natural habitats for many butterflies and plants, the wetland would provide an attractive entrance to Big Blue, therefore providing aesthetic, commercial and habitat value.
Its cheap and easy to build, and part of becoming an SSI Eco Dive centre requires us to manage our waste water as best we can. By investing in a constructed wetland system, you can truly claim to be a responsible steward of the environment, bringing human activity more closely into balance with nature. You can reduce your impact on municipal infrastructure, help conserve waste water with the potential for reuse, and help to provide wildlife habitat, all while treating wastewater to high standards for release into the ocean.
So watch this space - there going to be a beautiful wetlaand awaiting you next time you come to Big Blue!

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