A cooperative scientific mission in a hotspot of marine biodiversity.
The Moalboal Fish Watch Mission took place between 13th and 22nd of July 2013. This two week mission was organized by Peau-Bleue association in partnership with Dolphin House Resort and the tour operator Blue Lagoon / Blue World. The mission had two scientific goals:
Fish Watch species census on one reef site (Dolphin House Reef)
The aim was to describe and compare fish communities in the different reef habitats of this reef section, considered one of the nicest in the area. We used the Fish Watch protocol, that has been designed, tested and improved by Peau-Bleue since 2005. We thus established fish species lists for the different habitats, each species being given a semi-quantitative "presence index" value in each habitat.
The 18 divers of the group spent altogether more than 400 hours of underwater observation. Along a 300 m long section of the reeef, between 0 and 25 m depth, they identified 397 different fish species!
Quantitative census of fished species groups on 3 sites with different protection status
This study aimed at quantitatively assess populations of economically important fish groups, and compare them between sites. We used a time transect protocol that was designed and tested by Peau-Bleue since 2012. Presence-absence of 25 fish categories (with several size classes for each category) was recorded in a series of 5 minutes transects at constant depth. Three sites and four depth ranges were sampled. Semi-quantitative data were also recorded for a number of environmental descriptors along the same transects.
192 transects were made, equally distributed between sites and depths. The analysis of the collected data showed a positive effect of protection on fish diversity and size.
The main results and analysis of these studies were synthetised in a scientific report that was transmitted to our local partners and forwarded to Moalboal authorities. You can download here this scientific report.
Congratulations and thanks to the eco-volunteers: Marie-France Choulat, Geneviève & Philippe Couillaux, Bruno Delalle, Sylvie Huet, Myriam Karbia, Sylvie Louisy, Claire Marzet, Nicolas Mugnier, Virginie Paulme, Marie-Christine Rehlinger, Marie-Joëlle & Pierre Rouillan, Alain Vasquez, Claude & Josiane Wacquant. We also thank Mylen Panuncial and other Philippino guides of White Beach Scuba Divers, who fully contributed to the scientific work. Special thanks to Rudy Poitiers and the Dolphin House Resort team,and to the diving tour operator Blue Lagoon. The scientific mission was directed by the Peau-Bleue scientific manager Patrick Louisy.