A cooperative scientific mission in a hotspot of marine biodiversity.
The North-Sulawesi Fish Watch Mission lasted from 6th to 22nd of April 2012. This two week mission was organized by Peau-Bleue association in two different locations (the Lembeh Strait, ant the Tumbak area, further south) with different goals:
In Lembeh : Critters@Lembeh dive centre is very much involved in environmental issues. For instance, it has been running a preservation program, including artificial reef, on the Lembeh resort House Reef since 2007 (see here...
and there). Our mission was to study fish communities on this site, using Peau-Bleue Fish Watch methodology. As a comparison aerea, we chose to study Nudi Falls, a well-known dive site on the other side of the Straight. The 20 divers of the group spent all together more than 240 hours underwater. They identified 410 different fish species, 324 being found in the House Reef versus 261 in Nudi Falls.
In Tumbak :
Tumbak is located in the middle of a reef area, which has been critically damaged by overfishing. NGO Acroporis has been working for five years with the villagers, trying to increase their awareness on environmental issues in order to help them manage their fish resources. (see here and there). Our objective was to study several sites in order to determine their interest in terms of preservation or rehabilitation. Fishes were counted during transects: two divers must swim along a five meters large strip of sea bottom at constant depth for five minutes and note down the presence or absence of 25 selected categories of fishes divided into several size classes. 210 hours underwater and 312 transects allowed us to expertise 13 sites in terms of environmental quality and fish population. The results have been analysed by Anthony Binst, Master’s student in ecology, and the report has been transmitted to Acroporis, and to the local authorities.
The French magazine “Plongée Magazine” has published an article about this Bio Sous-Marine mission. You can read it (in French) on the magazine's website.
(*) Congratulations and thanks to the eco-volunteers: Sophie Camard, Marie-France Choulat, Geneviève & Philippe Couillaux, Bernard Garstecki, Sylvie Huet, Sylvie Louisy, Claire Marzet, Patrick Noël, Elodie & Xavier Perrigaud, Evelyne & Lionel Peyroutou, Claude & Josiane Wacquant.We also thank the Indonesian guides of Critters@Lembeh, especially Catherine "Dimpy" Jacobs, Fandy Sangi et Hendrikwan "Iwan" Daluwu, who fully contributed to the scientific work. In Tumbak, we benefited from Yoann Parizot’s help and knowledge of the place, and three Indonesian students joined us: Sormin Hartarto, Mambu Ronald and Davidson Rato Nono. Special thanks to Danny Charlton (Critters@Lembeh), the team in Lembeh Resort and the diving tour operator Blue Lagoon. Patrick Louisy was the scientific head of the mission, assisted by Anthony Binst, Master’s student in ecology.