We are pleased to present another Master Divers Life contest blog by contestant Karthik Prakash…
There is no particular conservation project that I would like to do. I wanted to take part as much conservation project as possible and make contributions towards saving our mighty ocean.
As far as observed in marine conservation projects the basic need is controlling of waste. Once our beaches are clean and people have consciousness while littering then almost 75% of the problem is solved. This been said my participation towards the beach cleanup will be mandatory. I have mentioned few conservation projects that are taking place or had taken place which found to have positive results. I would like to work on all these projects or would like to start new projects to do my best to protect our ocean.
Reef protection conservation is a vital project that ensures the safety of the reefs. This includes having a keen eye on the reef while diving. People get carried away by the beauty of underwater be it seeing a triggerfish, turtle, whale sharks, rays and so on. This can make divers stamp on coral without knowing and you can disturb any marine life. So being aware of what happens underwater is a must. Reef protection activity involves collecting waste while we dive. Preserving coral reefs is necessary for generations to come in order to make them experience what we experience now as divers and also should save our oceans to have a balanced ecosystem. Also underwater cleanup helps to protect our reefs from structural damage and improve the appearance of our beaches and dive sites.
Extinction of a particular species can take place due to few reasons. One of the major is overfishing. This may occur when a situation like the fish which is caught can be the only male/female that is left out in that particular species. Destruction of habitat and climate change can lead to extinction.
There was a project that took place in 2013 in order to create a new dive site called Hin Fai Bio Rock in Koh Tao. They implemented an idea of “New coral fragmentation to an artificial reef using low voltage electric current mineral accretion technology this can help coral to grow 3-5 times faster” this was a wonderful idea and seems to give good results. Scuba divers helped out to make this project a successful one. Their hard work and sweat were paid off when they could see coral growing faster with fishes making their way to the dive site, the place got its life. I think this is a visual treat for all diver who contributed towards this project and to the diver who dives into the dive site.
As Koh Tao refers to turtle island it is the nesting place for almost all the turtles which resided in the island. One of my favorite projects that I would love to get associated with is the sea turtle conservation project.
Few key points to know on why sea turtle is important.Sea turtle plays an important role in ocean ecosystems by maintaining healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs, providing habitat for other marine life, helping to balance marine food webs and facilitating nutrient cycling from water to land.
To talk about Green sea turtles, one of the large species that eat seagrass which helps to maintain healthy seagrass beds. When they graze, they increase the productivity and nutrient content of seagrass blades. Without constant grazing, seagrass beds become overgrown and obstruct currents, shade the bottom, begin to decompose and provide suitable habitat for the growth of slime molds. Older portions of seagrass beds tend to be overgrown with microorganisms, algae, invertebrates, and fungi.
Next, the hawksbill sea turtle equipped with beak-like mouths, they forage on a variety of marine sponges. By doing this, they change the species composition and distribution of sponges in coral reef ecosystems. Sponges compete aggressively for space with reef-building corals. By removing sponges from reefs, hawksbills allow other species, such as coral, to colonize and grow. Without hawksbills, sponges are likely to dominate reef communities, further limiting the growth of corals and modifying the very structure of coral reef ecosystems.
Sea turtle helps in maintain balanced food web, they provide food for fishes by carrying around barnacles, algae. Sea Turtles improves nesting beaches.
I was engaged in conservation projects with The Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network [SSTCN]. The Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest on the Chennai coast each January and are desperately in need of the help. We as volunteers help in the beaches of Chennai to save Olive Ridley Turtle eggs. Predators tend to eat eggs, human activity disrupting the hatching process, traders taking away eggs for sale as food, and climate changes, the numbers of hatchlings from each nesting is also falling. This is why the SSCTN’s process of hatching turtles in hatcheries and releasing them into the ocean plays a crucial role in keeping turtle numbers up. Olive Ridley numbers have been alarmingly declining in recent years. While the turtles are killed for their meat and the eggs harvested, the biggest threat they face is of adult turtles being accidentally caught in the fishing nets. What we do is we help her dig a hole and lay her eggs. After the turtles have laid their eggs and gone, we collect the eggs keep them in a safe place to let it hatch and release the hatchlings back into the sea. Working in this project helped me to understand more of the underwater world, problems that the creature face on daily basis. I am happy that I contributed a small amount from my side towards this mighty ocean.
As you already know I am a big fan of whales & sharks. I just cannot imagine a life without them in the ocean. As most of the people in the diving industry love to spend time underwater with these magnificent creatures. Who wouldn’t want to encounter a whale or shark on their dives? I hope everybody wants to, so keeping this in mind I think taking steps to conserve them is absolutely important not only to encounter but to keep our ecosystem balanced.
Sharks play a vital role in our ecosystems and are considered a keystone species. They help maintain a healthy ecosystem by eating the dead, dying and weak animals while regulating prey populations. Sharks are already down just in the last 20 years, shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy is threatening the survival of sharks as a whole. It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed annually just for this Chinese dish. This horrific act involves cutting off only the fins of the shark while it is still alive and then throwing it back overboard to slowly die. This wasteful process leaves the shark motionless on the ocean floor unable to swim and breath. The health of our oceans depends on a healthy shark population. There are a number of ways you can help get involved in protecting our sharks. Don’t go to a restaurant that sells shark fin soup. Be aware of the ingredients in your cosmetics. Avoid cosmetics that are extraction from sharks.So make sure we all reduce using these products and could contribute towards increasing the population of sharks. Organizations that would help you in participating conservation for sharks and whales are “Project AWARE”, The Great Projects, Keiko conservation and lots more to get involved and bring a change to their population.
I got involved in a land project in Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) to save animals. I was engaged in road kill survey. Our task is to take our bikes and then go on for a ride to find out where there are road kills took place. Be it a snake or frogs or any animal that lost its life in a road accident. The data tat needs to be collected is which place it took place, condition of the animal, did anyone happen to see and final a photograph of the animal. These data are collected and then given to analysis. After analyzing we then go around the resident and make them aware of what happened and ask them to be careful. Actually after this was carried out we were able to see less roadkill and the project is still being take care by the volunteers. I was also involved in a project on collecting data on mammals sighting at night. This helped saving people life and also their cattle.
Please do watch this small video below.
Now tell me does anybody want to destroy marine life. You can see how peaceful their world is and I have just taken you for a small ride to our ocean. There is more to see and experience in our oceans.
To conclude I would like to say I am happy to make every day an “Eco day of Koh Tao. Eco day on Koh tao includes the beach clean up, reef clean up and much more activities. I think we should not wait for eco days to come, all day must be considered as eco day. One thing that is widely noticed is, many people wanted to experience scuba diving. We must make them aware that we people are destroying corals and fishes with or without our knowledge. If we pollute oceans then the expectation to do scuba diving decrease. If scuba diving decrease we miss out a chance to experience the beauty of our oceans and as well as we will lose what the earth has to offer in terms of underwater. I wish everybody in this planet can contribute towards saving our earth. You do not have to take your time out from your busy schedule and make your hands dirty. It just a simple act that can bring a change, like collecting a plastic waste from down and put them in a dustbin. I can promise one thing for sure I will make my contribution towards saving our mother nature until my last breath 🙂 🙂 – Written by Karthik P