Coral & Marine Diversity Monitoring Program

The Beginning of Aquamarine Live

In Than Kyun Nge, we have placed 4 team members to look after the island since October 2014. As soon as they settled we have being start clearing the rubbish such as all sorts of plastics containers, glass bottles and abandon fishing equipment that carried by the current.

Finding and preparation of Fresh-Water supply is not very difficult as the island has used formally by Ministry of Mining for Iron Ore several decades ago. We are glad to find out that the supply is more than enough for our team, 15 acres Cashew nut plantation that left behind by previous occupants, and for our own Organic Orchard and Vegetable gardens, we can even provide the fresh water for local fishermen in the area.

We take this opportunity to approach the locals when they come for refuge from bad weather and water supply. We gave away the fruits from our garden such as mangos, jack fruits and coconuts to get their attention.

We persuade and share knowledge about the importance of protecting the nature and not using destructive fishing methods from time to time. We let them know what is the consequences of their livelihoods if they do not stop destroying and protecting the nature. They are fully aware of the significant decline of their daily catch and some of them have being forced into things that making the situation even worst.

We provided the anchoring buoys in all the beaches to avoid damaging the corals by visitors and local fishing boat anchors.

After caring the island for over a year we came to know that we seen lesser rubbish piling up on the island as well as the broken dead corals wash up on the shore of all the beaches.
We usually patrolling around the island, that’s make especially dynamite fishermen to stay away and refrain from operating near the island.
In 2015 opening season, we have started putting floating barriers at East and West bay to monitor and protect the corals and marine life in the colonies.

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Plan

Surveying, Monitoring, Recording & Identifying.
The last survey was conducted by Fauna & Flora International Myanmar on 10th of December 2014 only in the North Part of Than Kyun Nge. It was merely a short few moths after our occupancy of the island.

That single survey put Than Kyun Nge in a high score on the numbers of fish spices found as 100species recorded in the single survey where 117 species was the highest score. However the coral condition was described as heavily damaged due to the dynamite fishing, and trawling in near the island.

 

Surveying

We are now planning to do intensive and thorough survey starting from surrounding of the island mapping properly.

The survey will start from the previous surveyed location and the entire North Bay and surrounding area. The survey will eventually expend to West and South bay area and end at East Bay.

General Survey an Mapping – Most of the biological monitoring methods in this manual focus on censusing small sections of a coral reef (several square meters) and detecting changes over time. However, you may need to quickly survey a large area in certain situations. A preliminary survey to be helpful in selecting a study area for a long-term monitoring program. The use of aerial photographs and a manta tow survey are two techniques used in making this kind of general assessment.

Aerial Photography – Aerial photographs provide a good starting point for a general survey of a coral reef at a scale of 1:5000.Aerial photographs will be used to:

  • Assist in selecting appropriate study sites.
  • Document the distribution and extent of major marine ecosystems and the patterns of land and marine use which might affect these systems.
  • Provide a record of large-scale changes in shallow reefs and seagrass beds resulting from natural events such as storms or from human activities such as construction of marinas or other coastal development.

Groundtruthing – Aerial photos with high resolution will be used to identify major zones and habitats, although changes in the condition or abundance of reef organisms do not generally show up. We will than use SCUBA dive or snorkel to determine exactly what certain areas represent; conduct field effort to verify the zonation patterns or habitat types in the photographs.

Grid Mapping – Creating “base maps” of marine communities from enlarged aerial photographs (of at least 10″ x 10″). Use that to professionally produced aerial photographs with a known scale.
These base maps to be used to make rough estimates of the size of major habitats and zones.

Manta Tow Survey – In this method a diver or snorkeler is typically towed over the reef by a small outboard motor boat, stopping periodically to record data.


 

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Monitoring

The objective of Monitoring in general level, such as “to determine the present status of the reef and natural rates of change,” and more specific level such as,

  • to detect changes in abundances of a particular group of organisms;
  • to discover possible cause-and-effect relationships;
  • to determine if a specific management action is working (e.g., prohibition of spearfishing) and/or
  • to measure the effect of both natural and human-induced stresses.

By establishing the monitoring program can help provide the necessary information to examine the effects of different stresses around Than Kyun Nge and expend into the entire Mergui Archipelago.