Friday, May 8, 2009

Clean reefs = happy turtles

To commemorate Earth Day 2009, Underwater Centre/Dive Seychelles and MCSS organised clean-up dives in the North of Mahe. Volunteers from a number of local organisations were invited; these included staff from the dive centre, MCSS, Global Vision International , Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology , Seychelles Fishing Authority and Seychelles Island Foundation.

The clean-up team from the morning dive, photo Glynis Saunders.
The clean-up team from the afternoon dive, photo Glynis Saunders.

During the morning dive, Tony Marie-Jeanne, dive instructor from the Underwater Centre/Dive Seychelles cum paparazzi for the day, photographed a Hawksbill turtle while following the clean-up team.
Curious Hawksbill turtle watching the clean-up team from a safe distance, photo Tony Marie-Jeanne.

Keeping our reefs clean and healthy is an important part of turtle conservation. Removing rubbish such as ropes and plastic bags ensures that turtles do not get tangled up or ingest what, to them looks like a tasty jelly-fish.

Turtle eating plastic bag, photo web - unattributed.

In addition to collecting rubbish from the sea floor, the clean up team also collected Crown of Thorns starfish (Acanthaster plancii). These starfish, can cause havoc if allowed to reach plague proportions, destroying large stretches of reef as they feed on coral polyps.

Crown of Thorns starfish, photo Tony Marie-Jeanne.

With reefs impacted, the Hawksbill turtle’s foraging habitats are affected making it harder for them to find their preferred food items.

Hawksbill turtle feeding on sponges, photo Pierre Andre Adam.

As these reefs get broken down by wave action, beaches are eroded and nesting sites may be lost or become badly degraded, thus affecting turtle nesting success.

Nesting beach severely eroded after a storm, destroying a number of turtle nests, photo Elke Talma

1 comment:

turtle chick said...

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