We are only a few days in to our site scouting mission and we are pretty sure we have already found the general location for our new site! We have been so fortunate with the timing and the people we’ve met. It feels like fate!
Here is what we’ve seen and done so far:
Day 1 – Went into the heart of a fishing village. Found out about the local status of sharks and shark finning. Made friends with a local diver who shares our passion for marine conservation. Went with him to explored sites with damaged coral from historic dynamite fishing. Met a contact who knows the areas fisheries minister.
Day 2 – Explored some of the local islands. Went snorkelling on the reefs around the islands. Had a wonder through the incredible mangrove forests. Received an invitation to sit in on the home-stay association meeting. Met the tourism minister.
Day 3 – 4 – Took a trip to the East to investigate some of the islands and reefs further out. Saw our first turtle in the area.
By now we have identified some of the key conservation issues and concerns in the area that need our focus. Many of these will be long term challenges that we will need to tackle over time with support from the local people, organisations and universities.
Some of these include; a history or dynamite fishing, anchor damage to the reefs, shark finning, mangrove destruction, high levels of CO2 emission and nitrate runoff from local industry, plastic debris and coral removal. However, we have already begun developing plans to improve two of these in the very near future – more on that soon!
Above everything else we have been absolutely blown away by the generosity of the local people here and their openness, appetite and positivity towards the work we do. We hoped to find somewhere in need of our help and are overjoyed to have found somewhere that genuinely wants it.