November Update: Shark Conservation Breakthrough at CoP19, Job Opportunity, 3D Mapping and Oceanic Black-tip Shark

CITES Turns the Tide for Shark Conservation: Breakthrough at CoP19

During the first week of the World Wildlife Conference in Panama countries voted to protect nearly 100 shark and ray species. Increased management and protection mean shark fin trade – an industry responsible for killing millions of sharks every year – will be better regulated. Two shark families make up for over a half of the shark fins traded yearly. According to the IUCN Red List, most requiem sharks are threatened with extinction, and global numbers are declining, mostly because of the relentless overfishing. On the 19th of November, an important change in trade regulations was achieved for the future of sharks and rays.

”Sharks have pivotal functions in marine ecosystems, exerting top-down control in food webs. Large numbers of sharks in any given marine habitat means it has good health. It is really good news to have added protection to new shark species, which must translate into action and real protection in the ocean. To this end, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a good conservation management tool, which need solid data, and BCSS is on top of that in Mozambique.” – Dr. Mario Lebrato, Chief Scientist at BCSS

Marine Debris Collections Update

The team visited two marine debris monitoring sites last month, site C (mudflats) and site D (mangroves). Spending just over 7 hours, a total of 93 kgs of marine debris was collected. Interestingly, not much plastic was found at the mangroves. The marine debris consisted mainly of metal (26 kg) clothing (8.4 kg) and marine gear such as nets and fishing lines (9.4 kg), as this type of waste often gets tangled in the roots of the trees. At the mudflats, the bags were filled with plastic (5.3 kg rubber, 6.4kg hard plastics). Plastic pollution and discarded marine gear pose a major threat to marine life. Fish and marine mammals often mistake plastic for food or get entangled in ghost nets. At the end of the marine debris collections, all waste is being sorted and weighed. All data gathered at the waste management facility at BCSS is added to the database..To access to the BCSS marine debris data, please get in touch

Diving Courses, 3D Mapping & Exploratory Dives

The Bazaruto Archipelago makes for a great destination to gain your PADI Scuba Diving Certification, and we were happy to receive some lovely visitors last month. After staying with us for several months, Kristin has finished her Dive Master Course with Mauro. In October, visitors and research training participants Marie-Luna, Christien and Arthur received their Open Water Certification with Mauro, whereafter he taught Vera and Yu-Ming their Advanced Open Water Course.

The rest of the team was exploring new reefs, testing a 3D multi-beam and mapping dive sites. Creating new (3D) maps of reefs and dive sites in the Bazaruto Archipelago provides us with valuable information on the area’s ecosystems and general oceanography. We will soon be announcing an exciting new project, which involves multi-beam 3D mapping. See an example of a multi-beam generated 3D map below.

Wildife Highlights

November was quieter than normal, but nonetheless the team had several megafauna encounters. On the 15th of November, a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) was spotted northeast of Bazaruto Island. Two days later, a group of four reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) was seen swimming over the reefs near the San Sebastian peninsula. When the team returned to the same area the next day, they spotted another reef manta ray, an endangered grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and a vulnerable oceanic blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) on one reef, and a loggerhead turtle on another dive.

  • 15 November: A loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) was spotted east of the northern tip of Bazaruto Island.
  • 17 November: Southeast from Benguerra Island, the team encountered a group of four reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) at a cleaning station. 
  • 18 November: At the same cleaning station as the day before, a manta ray (M. alfredi)was seen, followed by a grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and an oceanic black-tip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus). On the second dive of that day, further south from the cleaning station, the team came upon a loggerhead turtle (C. caretta)

Job Opportunity: Kisawa Sanctuary & BCSS are Looking for a Sustainability Manage

We are looking for a full-time Sustainability Manager to join our teams. The Sustainability Manager will be concerned with monitoring Kisawa’s and BCSS practices with the intent to minimize the environmental imprint. The Sustainability Manager will lead the execution of strategic and operational action plans and will implement environmental policies and procedures developed alone and/or in conjunction with a Sustainability Consultant, following specific tasks stipulated in the Strategy. Read the job description and apply here.

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