Stormy Seas

Here at TRACC we are sometimes limited by weather conditions. Strong currents, surge and as a result - poor visibility, can make our shallower work dives impossible to undertake. Yesterday just so happened to have the tri-factor. As a result the main activities for the day were as follows.

Beach clean
Beach clean activity is pretty self-explanatory; we as a group walk the beach picking up rubbish. The majority of the group picks up lose fragments of debris – top of the list includes lighters, straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and nappies! All of which can be ingested by a range of sea creatures. As Pompom island has a relatively high density of green and hawksbills turtles (which are endangered and critically endangered according to recent IUCN figures), any debris that has the potential to choke them is obviously a concern of ours.

In addition to picking up human waste we also try and reduce the amount of wood is on the beach. Even though this may be a natural form of debris we still remove the majority of it. This is done for two reasons.  First and foremost is that Pompom islands nesting turtle population have issues navigating around the logs. By using the chainsaw to cut up and move the wood into piles, it increases ease of access for the turtles to get to their nesting grounds. By increasing ease of access to the nesting sites we increase the likelihood of turtles nesting on this beach (very beneficial as many of the neighboring islands have close to 100% egg poaching rates).  The second reason we do this is…. we do like a nice bonfire every now and again.

Step reef construcction
Step reefs are TRACC own design, made from concrete and recycled bottles. They are artificial reefs specifically designed to be deployed on a slope – to our knowledge a world first! For more information on step reefs click here.

Kit led the entire camp on how to make our new step reefs. Allowing volunteers to experience the life history of a step reef. Turning unused glass bottles and cement to permanent artificial reef structures.  Now we just need to wait for the weather to settle down and we can deploy them.

Drift dive survey

‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ a saying that also works for currents. We have data from 2011 about densities of the following fish species- titan triggerfish, groupers, black and white snappers, long nosed emperors and mauri wrasse. Survey methods were as simple as a drift dive in a defined area, counting each of defined fishes. Initial data has shown an increase in densities of all of these – which were expecting to finds as fishing activity has been significantly reduced over the last 2 years. Data collection on this will continue to further strength our data as well as track any future progress.