Indo Update 5 – Sustainable Snorkeling

In unserer BLOG Kategorie “Indo Update” gibt Janis aus dem Team der MMF in Indonesien Einblicke in deren Arbeit, die aktuell zum Großteil aus unserem MANTAHARI Projekt finanziert wird. IN der siebten ausgabe berichtet Janis von den versuchen, die Snorkel Trips etwas nachhaltiger zu gestalten und technik updates. Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

How are you Mantahari Community? I hope March has been treating you well!

We have had plenty of days in the water during March, both SCUBA diving and freediving, which is how we like it! We also started a new project (thanks, Rufford Foundation!) to increase the sustainability of snorkeling trips around Nusa Penida. Sustainable practices are critical now that tourism is increasing after years of pandemic restrictions. 

Typical snorkel boat close to the manta feeding grounds

By hopping on snorkel boats, we observed how the snorkel operators ran their trips and identified areas for improvement. These trips have been really eye-opening! We observed whether the onboard crew gave safety and marine life briefings during our snorkeling trips and, if yes, how they did it. We also assessed how tours operated at the manta sites, how that aligns with swimming with manta ray best practices Code-of-Conducts and boat safety, and other essential things that a sustainable tourism operator should implement. For example, were trip goers told what to expect about manta ray behavior and that chasing and touching manta rays (any marine life) is a no-no!.

Janis with the rig freediving

We used our time at sea to continue to perfect the use of stereo-photogrammetry now that we have successfully mastered the instrument optimization phase. Thanks to the help of other marine scientists who have successfully used stereo-photogrammetry, we managed to overcome some of our initial challenges. However, processing post-fieldwork data and collecting data using the stereo-photogrammetry rig is still challenging for me… it’s almost half of my size! The next step is measuring manta rays, and we are getting lots of practice, practice, practice!

The good news is there have been plenty of subjects to practice on. Manta rays were all around the cleaning stations and feeding grounds, green and hawksbill turtles were everywhere, and we saw bamboo sharks too! We are so thankful to the dive centers for supporting our work by having us onboard their trips!

Turtle data bases will be merged soon!

In other great news, we have joined forces with the fellow conservation organization Indo Ocean Project and are now busy merging our turtle identification datasets on the Internet of Turtles. With all of the additional data, we are now one step closer to understanding how sea turtles use the waters around Nusa Penida.

To learn more about our projects and support our work click the links! For more updates on our fieldwork sessions, follow us on Instagram (Microplastics and Megafauna, Marine Megafauna Foundation), Facebook (MMF Global; MMF SE Asia), and check out our 2021 Annual report!

We couldn’t have done our activities here in Indonesia without the help of Mantahari Oceancare and the Mantahari Community. Thank you for constantly supporting our activities!- Janis Argeswara

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