October Update: Our Permaculture Gardens, Bottlenose Dolphins, Scientific Training and Latest Marine Debris Data

Marine Debris Collections Update

In collaboration with African Parks, the BCSS team collected marine debris at five dedicated locations in October. A total of 191,8 kg was gathered accumulatively, of which 72,3% came from beach habitats (sites A and B). Plastic debris (hard/soft plastic, PET, rubber, styrofoam) remains majority of litter at almost all sites, as it makes up for71,2% of the total waste collected. At the mangroves habitat (site D), the debris primarily consisted of marine gear (22%) and clothing (15,7%) as those types of items often get entangled in the roots of the trees. These materials also made up most of the waste found at site E, a seagrass habitat in front of the BCSS station. All marine debris was brought to the BCSS waste management facility, where it was sorted by type and weighed. To access to the BCSS marine debris data, please get in touch.

A total of 191,8 kg was gathered accumulatively, of which 72,3% came from beach habitats. Of all waste collected, more than two thirds was made of plastic.

From Sand to Food Forest: Our Permaculture Gardens

As a zero-waste station on a remote island, permaculture is intertwined with our everyday routine. Our on-site gardens have been designed based on permaculture principles, adopting arrangements observed in flourishing natural habitats. Our gardeners, Sergio and Arlindo, plant, harvest and deliver our fresh vegetables and fruits to the kitchen, where nutritious, delicious meals are being prepared daily. Learn more about our permaculture principles and BCSS gardeners by clicking the link below.

“I love how nature surprises me often, not a day is the same.” – Sergio

Wildife Highlights

As the humpback whales have started gradually departing to their feeding grounds in Antarctica,  they become less abundant in the Mozambique Channel. Numbers of scalloped hammerhead sharks on the surface have increased. Wahoo and mahi-mahi have been visiting the pinnacles following clean water masses, while the number of tuna has been in decline owing to the general absence of bait and food sources. As a consequence of the fewer tuna, the team has spotted very few marlins. Last month’s underwater wildlife highlights include the encounter of a pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, followed by a large bull shark, while the team was diving.

  • 5 October: A cowtail stingray (Pastinachus sephen) was sighted while diving around San Sebastian.
  • 6 October: During a dive, two critically endangered scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) and a vulnerable oceanic blacktip (Carcharhinus limbatus) were seen south off the Bazaruto Archipelago, while on the second dive northeast of Bazaruto island, a vulnerable bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) was spotted.
  • 7 October: Three reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) were encountered while they were at a cleaning station northeast of Bazaruto Island. On that same dive the team also saw a vulnerable Jenkins’ whipray (Pateobatis jenkinsii).
  • 11 October: A pod of Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) swam passed when the BCSS team was diving east of Benguerra Island, whereafter a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) was sighted.
  • 21 October: Northeast of Bazaruto Island, a spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus ocellatus) was seen at a cleaning station together with a reef manta ray (M. alfredi).
  • 22 October: While diving different sites northeast of the San Sebastian peninsula, an endangered grey reef shark (C. amblyrhynchos), vulnerable round ribbontail ray (Taeniurops meyeni) and a black marlin (Istiompax indica) were sighted.
  • 27 October: A round ribbontail ray (T. meyeni) was sighted east of Benguerra Island.
  • 28 October:Three grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) were seen near the surface while diving east of Benguerra Island, together with a Jenkins’ whipray (P. jenkinsii).

Scientific Training Participants’ Contributions

Last month, several visitors participated in scientific training going on at our station on Benguerra Island. Students enjoyed the individual approach and professional advisory of our on-site experts who provided guidance on the array of scientific training, including writing workshops (proposals and reports compilations), basic statistical analyses, online databases and literature search training, and scientific figures production training. Our team members also provided a workshop on the advanced techniques in seabed mapping. Away from the desk, the program’s participants joined exploratory expeditions in the Bazaruto Archipelago and received fieldwork skills training focusing on species identification and taxonomy, both above and below the surface. Students also joined clean ups at different locations on Benguerra Island, contributing to our Theme 4 marine debris collection work and data input.

Besides the theoretical and practical learning, three participants received their PADI Open Water Diver certification after training with our instructor Mauro Jije. Others honed their diving skills by becoming Advanced Open Water divers.

Interested in visiting our station on Benguerra Island? Get in touch.

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