Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Shark Week: Day 2 & 3

The second day of this special week saw us getting involved in one of our favourite activities: a reef clean! We had staff, interns and guests helping clean up underwater. Marine debris is a problem effecting all of our oceans. Here at Pulau Mabul we make every effort to minimise trash, but unfortunately it is necessary for us to take to the water armed with bags and gloves and remove rubbish. With the patterns of currents we have around the island, debris tends to congregate in certain areas. There is one corner of the island where currents converge pulling debris into that one place. Although its not nice for that dive site, it is good for us! Our dedicated team brought out several bags of debris that we will remove from the island.

Marine debris is a problem for many species of life. Not only do turtles mistake plastic bags for jelly fish and try to eat them, but also sharks and rays can become entangled and drown. Unfortunately it is not just underwater critters that are effected. Birds are also being found with stomachs full of plastic debris that they have accidentally consumed. Beach and reef cleans are an integral part of conservation and we hope that more and more people will get involved.

We also had staff participating in our coral transplant programme. Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and complex ecosystems on the planet and are essential to an incredible amount of species. Unfortunately these delicate ecosystems are under threat and are facing destruction and damage. We have a coral nursery on our house reef. Fragments of broken and damaged coral are collected from around the island. They are taken to our nursery where we hope they will regain health - flourish and grow. Our coral transplant programme has attracted a wealth of life and we hope that this will continue.

In the evening we had a presentation from the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC). As part of TRACC Steve Oakley and his assistant Sunny are involved in coral reef conservation - which ties in nicely with our days activities. They use volunteers and and visitors to aid the rebuilding of coral reefs. They aim to create solutions. Sunny gave a captivating presentation on sharks. Our customers gained information on threats sharks face.

 Day 3:
As we approach the middle of our second annual Shark Week the resort is still buzzing with excitement and activity. In the evening we let loose with a Pub Quiz and we raised loads of money for shark conservation in the area.

Our onsite Environmental Officer -David McCann was our quiz master for the evening. There were some fantastic prizes on offer. The top prize was the PADI Shark specialty. This course gives the student information on the biology of sharks,  the problems their populations are facing and go through why you have or have no seen sharks whilst diving.

Facts about Thresher Sharks

  • There are 3 known species of Thresher- the Big Eye Thresher, the Palagic Thresher and the Common Thresher 
  • There is thought that there may be a fourth species
  • It's stunning tail is the same length as its body 
  • They are generally a deep living shark, but there are cleaning stations where they can be see at 20m.
  • Sometimes they can be seen breaching the surface
  • Their huge tail is used to hunting. Behaviour has been witnessed of them speeding towards a group of fish, using their large pectoral fins they 'brake' and their tail comes forward and whips their prey - stunning them. 
  • All species of the Thresher are listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Red list

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