14 May 2012
Categories: Homepage News, Marine Campaign News
In October 2011 Sea Sense received two donations from the Born Free Foundation ‘Wish List’: a digital camcorder and a pair of marine binoculars. Both pieces of field equipment have been used many times in the field, particularly the camcorder.
The camcorder has been used to film a variety of Sea Sense activities including training workshops, school education programmes and sea turtle nesting and hatching events. Clips of these activities will be posted to the new Sea Sense website.
The camcorder has been used frequently to document Sea Sense education and outreach programmes. An endangered marine species education workshop was held in November (left) targeting village leaders and members of local Fishers Associations. A ‘Theatre for Development’ project was also organised in November to stimulate discussion in coastal communities about the impact of poor resource management on marine endangered species such as sea turtles and dugongs (below).
Most recently, the camcorder was used to document the attachment of a satellite tag on a sea turtle. The subsequent release of the tagged turtle was also filmed using the camcorder.
This is the first ever sea turtle satellite tagging project in Tanzania. By following the tracks produced by the satellite, it will be possible to identify the location of important feeding grounds in the region and assess the level of sea turtle interaction with industrial fisheries during the migratory period.
In the age of digital media, it is essential that Sea Sense has the means to communicate this kind of information to international audiences to raise awareness of sea turtle research and conservation programmes in Tanzania. The new camcorder has been an invaluable piece of field equipment for this purpose.
The marine binoculars proved extremely useful during a recent dugong survey in Mafia Island. Once abundant in Tanzania, dugong populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to subsistence hunting, incidental capture in in-shore artisanal gillnets and disturbance to critical seagrass habitat from commercial prawn trawling and dynamite fishing. Sightings are rare and the Rufiji Delta is thought to support the last remaining population in Tanzania. However, in October 2009, there was a live sighting of a dugong in Mafia District which represented the first live sighting of a dugong in Mafia waters since the 1970’s. The same individual has been observed on several occasions since then. The binoculars have assisted Sea Sense staff to observe the dugong and identify specific areas of seagrass habitat that the dugong is utilising.
Sea Sense is extremely grateful for the donation of these two pieces of field equipment and we wish to express sincere thanks to the donor, Lin Adams from Sussex, who responded to our request via the Born Free Foundation Wish List.