July Update: The Importance of Sharks and Rays, Interns Presentations, June Wildlife Sightings and More

New article: The Importance of sharks and Rays in Mozambique: The Need for Data, Research and Cooperation
Sharks and rays are critical species that play a vital role within the ecosystem. These species maintain an ecological balance within the food chain, as they control the variety and amounts of fish and other organisms. With approximately 147 shark and ray species recorded in Mozambique, the countries’ waters are considered a hotspot, especially south of the country, which includes the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), where BCSS is located. Today, the need for research and organisations to work together is bigger than ever. Read our newest article here.

June Wildlife Sightings Highlights
The last month we spotted the following species as we cruised around the Bazaruto Archipelago to collect data and teach volunteers and interns regarding marine science and conducting research.

  • June 10:Two round ribbon tail rays (Taeniura meyeni), on the seabed northeast off the coast of Benguerra Island.
  • June 13: Four Jenkins’ whiprays (Pateobatis jenkinsii) resting in the sand off the south coast of Bazaruto Island.
  • June 15: Leopard shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) moving around a cleaning station several kilometers southeast off Margaruque Island.
  • June 17: Two grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) swimming in the currents northeast the coast of Benguerra Island.
  • June 18: Two grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) swimming in the current northeast off the coast of Benguerra Island.
  • June 19: Porcupine ray (Urogymnus asperrimus) laying on the seabed northeast off Bazaruto Island’s coast and three grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhyncho) moving around the reef at east off the coast of Bazaruto Island.
  • June 20: Dugong (Dugong dugon) surfacing at just off the south coast of Bazaruto Island.
  • June 22: A loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) on the seabed east off the coast of Bazaruto Island.
  • June 24: A blue-spotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii) was spotted on the seabed northeast off Benguerra Island. 


Interns & Volunteers: Data, Research and Presentations
We are excited to share that we have lots of motivated volunteers and interns currently staying at BCSS. Last month, they developed their fieldwork skills, learned about scuba diving for research and had workshops on mastering presentations. They helped with collecting remote sensed data and joined our weekly marine debris beach clean-ups around Benguerra Island. The volunteers are asked to prepare research on topics weekly and present the findings on the weekend; the BCSS team provides feedback on the research, findings, and presentation. A few topics that were presented in the last few months are: ‘Marine taxonomy’, ‘What are Ocean Observatories and how do they work’, and ‘What data tells us: Analysis from the data collected on beach clean-ups’. Interested in joining one of our volunteering or internship programs? Click here to read more.

Ocean Observatory Data Repository
BCSS’s unique Ocean Observatory is well underway, and we are currently working hard on getting all the data organized online. Once the data are accessible, it will be integrated into our website. The data retrieved through our four research themes will be mostly open-source data, meaning that anyone could access and use the data. As we are continuously monitoring through our multi-ecosystem time-series approach, the data will be of value to researchers, organisations and scientists from all over the world. For any questions regarding the Ocean Observatory data, contact us.

Continuous Marine Debris Data Being Collected
BCSS’s beach clean-up program (under research theme 4: Land & Outreach) has been in full swing, with volunteers and interns working alongside BCSS staff and community members. The program is a collaboration between African Parks and BCSS and started in March this year. The data collection has since been consistent, as the Benguerra community and BCSS staff and volunteers collect marine debris of a total of four sites around Benguerra Island. BCSS is monitoring the collections, recording the data in detail, and gaining insight into the type of pollution found on the beaches. As the data are being added on a weekly basis, the value of the beach clean-ups will only increase as time goes by, as the data can be used to draw conclusions based on the type of debris found.

A Sustainable Waste and Food Management Plan for Kisawa
BCSS was requested by sister property Kisawa to help design a waste management strategy for the luxury resort. We shared our expertise and experience regarding waste management in this unique island location. Included in the strategy was an upscaled replica of BCSS’s full-circle food waste composting strategy; food waste from the restaurants’ kitchens is turned into rich compost, that is then used in the vegetable gardens on-site. The vegetable gardens will produce fresh, organically grown food that will then be used in the kitchens of both the restaurants and the staff canteen. The strategy also draws on experience with recycling in the region, as BCSS has set up a marine debris monitoring program. As part of this program, all collected litter is being recycled. The strategy advises Kisawa on how and where to recycle in the region, as well as how to accurately separate waste. BCSS and Kisawa have a symbiotic relationship, and it is great for Kisawa to leverage BCSS’s environmental intelligence for sustainable matters like waste management.

COVID-19 Restrictions in Mozambique:
 an Update

Mozambique still has numerous of restrictions in place to limit the spread the COVID-19. On the 27th of May, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique presented the revised rules and restrictions. The restrictions for e.g., schools, events and restaurants have loosened a little, which allows for a bit of a ‘boost’ for the local economy. Visas are permitted through Mozambican embassies worldwide, and a visa on arrival can be obtained when flying in and at the border. To enter Mozambique, you need a negative PCR test that has been taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. For more information, please consult your local Mozambican embassy.

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