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18, Feb, 2008

Kantiang Mooring Project

Posted in Aqualogy, Diving News, Eco News, Latest News, Local Community Projects by saffron

Kantiang Mooring Project

Ko Lanta is a fairly unusual island in this area, in that it does not have a coral reef around the island. Here in Kantiang Bay, in the South of Ko Lanta, we are one of the only beaches on the island to have any coral reef growth.

Anna's Magnificent SlugAfter conducting some exploratory dives on the Kantiang Bay House Reef we’ve observed some extremely interesting macro life. There are colonies of nudibranches that we’ve never seen on other dive sites in the area, as well as many species of juvenile fish, small rays and anemones. There are even some small Gorgonian Sea Fans and Table Corals. Just on our doorstep is an area of bio-diversity that we never even knew about!

Having discovered such a wealth of macro-life and healthy breeding ground for many reef fish, we realised this was something that needed to be preserved and conserved.

Preparing the Longtail for the Mooring ProjectWe consulted with local fishermen who confirmed that this area was rich in marine life and had been for as long as anyone could remember and discussed a plan to clean up the reef and moor it off as a protected area.

We removed many old fishing nets and other debris and discovered many unusual and rare species at the same time. We looked at the least obtrusive way to mooring the line to protect the largest area and avoid too much pull from the tide – especially during the south-west monsoon season, when conditions can get pretty rough in the bay.

Preparing to feed the lineWith a team that included Darrel, Pod, Buah, Po and Sanae, we took a couple of sets of diving gear, plenty of rope with floats already rigged-up and set out by longtail boat to set our line.

Taking care to only anchor the line points in sandy areas on the bottom – so that we didn’t harm any of the reef we were trying to protect – we slowly cordoned off a large area of about 300 square metres.

Preparing the AnchorsOur House-Reef Cleaning and Macro-ID Projects have allowed us to rejuvenate an area of neglected reef and identify several new and rare species
Our Mooring Buoy Project protects a substantial area of this reef safeguarding a large population of newly discovered juvenile fish, providing a safe area for swimmers and allowing local boat activities to continue without harming fragile reef environments.

New Species Identified:
9 new species of Nudibranch have been identified that are not normally seen on our regular dive sites. Please see this link for a full list.

Protected AreaSeveral new rare or unusual species of Pipefish, Shrimpfish and Moray Eels have been identified in relative abundance on our house reef. Please see the following links for further info: (Macro Paradise & Muck Diving in Kantiang Bay)

We’ve discovered that our House Reef is a haven for juvenile fish and macro-life and gives us a dive location that does not require making a trip out on the boat to enjoy – benefiting the environment with further fuel reductions.

Positive Impact:
Our house reef is much healthier now that old fishing lines and nets have been largely removed. Fishing boats no longer fish or drop anchors over this reef and there is now a protected and safe area for swimmers and juvenile fish to enjoy and prosper.

Mooring Line Installation

Fishing is a huge part of many family’s lives on Koh Lanta. The key to success in protecting the environment, is to create a new generation of ambassadors who themselves see the value of caring about the environment. In a community where almost everyone learns about fishing, an education in eco-awareness and marine life conservation can only be a positive combination. In order for plentiful fish stocks to be available for future generations, it is essential for us to look after reefs, where the juvenile fish can shelter.

Through local meetings with community leaders, and by educating the local children who will be our future generation of underwater conservationists, we hope to make a difference that can be seen by the local community. By contributing in this way, we hope that the future of both our cultural heritage and the natural beauty of our oceans, can survive.

 

What is ‘MacroLife’?

Macrolife is really just a term for small fish and other marine life. By focusing on the small things you can often ’see’ far more of the life that inhabits just a small area of a reef.

Nudibranches are a small animal that divers often get excited about. These sea slugs (or soft-bodied snails) belong to the suborder Nudibranchia, the largest suborder of the order Opisthobranchia. There are more than 3,000 described species, among which are some of the most colourful creatures on earth. It is believed that these bright colours have evolved for both camouflage and defense.

We have already identified over 9 different species of Nudibranch on our House Reef, and look forward to finding more interesting life!

 


 

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