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February Update: Ocean Observatory progress, Permaculture and more

We had a great start of 2021, as January was packed with interesting new projects, exciting collaborations and lots of data and research. We are eagerly looking ahead into the year, and have plenty more to share with you over the next couple of months. For now, enjoy our review of January’s activities at BCSS, from orca sightings to a new internship program focusing on permaculture.

LOTEK agreement for satellite tagging
BCSS finalized a partnership agreement with LOTEK, providing us with a supply of satellites, to be used on sharks and pelagic fish like Marlin, Tuna and Wahoo, to enhance movement monitoring around the Bazaruto Archipelago. BCSS has further engaged with ARGOS CLS satellite data providers to work towards supplying BCSS with satellite coverage for the LOTEK devices.

The Ocean Observatory progress & development
Our Ocean Observatory map with mooring positions and floating stations has been finalised after careful exploration of the BANP ecosystems. The working platform was preliminary presented to government authorities two weeks ago, to further engage regional, national and international collaborators. The operational procedures (sampling routines, maintenance and time-series data delivery) were also successfully completed. You can view the map in greater detail here.

Recent wildlife sightings 
The year has started fantastically here in the Bazaruto Archipelago, with sightings of Orcas off-shore Bazaruto, a pod of False Killer Whales and a large group of Tiger Sharks feeding just off Bazaruto. The latter is very unusual, and a first for our science team to observe hierarchical behaviour among the species. Last week we counted more than 20 giant Manta Rays sampling on the plankton-rich waters around Benguerra Island. From the fish species, Giant Travelly aggregations have been observed around pinnacles, plus several small Bonito runs.

Permaculture project with the local primary school
BCSS had the opportunity to collaborate with Afican Parks on a permaculture project for the local school on Benguerra Island. Next month, permaculture specialist Tichafa Makovere will visit the island to implement the food garden together with the school teachers and children. Together with BCSS, he will teach them how to practice permaculture. Permaculture will also be added to the curriculum. 

Scientific Dive Center  
BCSS has entered the last phase of building and developing the test tank at our new research focused, scientific dive centre. We are expecting to launch the center into full operation within the next 14 days, allowing for new types of research expeditions and for expanded training of staff and volunteers, run by our Marine Operations & Diving Manager, Mauro Jije.

Land-based Internship Program
After launching the Marine Science Program in October last year, we received many positive responses, motivating us to develop the land-based internship. This important internship focuses on permaculture, waste management, community outreach projects and holistic sustainability. For more information, go to our Marine Science Programs page.

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