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January Update: Our Year In Review, New Collaborations, Marine Debris Update and Wildlife Highlights

Happy 2022!

At the station, we are looking back on our highlights of the last year. From new collaborations and partnerships and the establishment of an educational food gardenat the Benguerra Island primary school, to sighting large groups of humpback whales and teaching volunteers and interns how we conduct marine science research. Read our full year in review article here.

The BCSS team enjoyed a Christmas lunch and New Year’s celebrations together at the research station.

Collaboration on Plastic Marine Debris Blockchain App

BCSS has been working together with a European organisation developing a blockchain app focusing on closing the circle of plastic waste management through traceability systems. The traced data reveals the true uses and routes of plastic waste globally, facilitating data and therefore greater control over the CO2 footprint of plastic waste. These insights may increase the awareness of individual and corporate responsibility for the overconsumption of plastic. BCSS provides the organisation with data retrieved from our continuous marine debris collections as part of our theme 4 research. 

Ministry of the Sea Visiting BCSS Research Station

After the Crescendo Azul/Growing Blue Conference held in Vilankulo (18-19 November), a delegation of the Ministry of the Sea together with professors from partnering universities in South Africa visited the BCSS research station. The reason for their visit was to learn more about what BCSS does, and preliminary discussions were held regarding BCSS joining a project to study large scale physical and chemical oceanography processes in the Mozambique Channel. The research project in question is called ReMoTURB, part of the Instituto Oceanografico de Moçambique, and aims to develop an integrated understanding of the coastal/shelf system, including the role of physical drivers, biogeochemistry, productivity, biodiversity, and ultimately to relate these to fisheries and coastal communities.

Wildlife Highlights

Last month’s dives were full of exciting wildlife sightings. On one dive, the team spotted a group of Malabar groupers (Epinephelus malabaricus) of which one was swimming oddly, with mouth agape, and it seemed like he had a pufferfish stuck in its mouth. They also spotted a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) missing a fin, which may have been bitten off by a shark. Other sightings include a grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), blue-spotted ribbon-tail stingray (Taeniura lymma), big schools of fish and large parrot fish.

Marine Debris Collection Update

Last month, we collected marine debris at site E (mudflats/beach), C (seagrass habitat) and B (beach), see below. At location E, 28 kg of debris was collected, roughly 10 kg was found at site C and at site D an accumulative amount of 21 kg was collected, totalling an average of 59 kgs. The marine debris was comprised of various items; from toothbrushes (un-recyclable hard plastic) and wrappers (un-recyclable soft plastic) to cans and clothing (containing micro plastics . The types of items are carefully entered into the database, alongside estimated origin of the debris.

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