By Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check Foundation Executive Director
The Philippines Siren was our base of operations for the 2015 Central Visayas survey expedition. A team of six guests hailing from Canada, the US, UK and one WWDS Dive Instructor from Spain took part in the EcoDiver training while in the crystal clear waters of the Cebu and Negros. Stops included MoalBoal, Dauin, Apo Island, Cabilao, and Balicasag – areas where I worked as a US Peace Corps Volunteer over 35 years ago. It was inspiring to see that blast fishing has stopped in this entire area. We only heard one distant blast off Bohol the entire trip. This used to be dynamite fishing central. All the work by NGOs including Reef Check, the government Bureau of Fisheries officers, and local mayors has finally paid off. The reward is in seen in the large numbers of small fish like Anthias that are now too numerous to count. It was also encouraging to see so many local towns trying to set up and maintain their own Marine Protected Areas so that the fish have time to reproduce. Our intrepid team was able pass all their tests and to complete our surveys which will soon be added to the Reef Check global database. As usual, the entire crew and dive staff of WWDS went out of their way to support our training and in addition to covering the training costs, even made a significant donation to Reef Check. The WWDS dive guides are incredible at finding all the weird critters that photographers like to shoot. So readers, if you want to have a fun dive trip and also learn how to do a Reef Check survey, please check our list of expeditions and sign up for next year’s amazing Visayas trip at sirenfleet.com.
Thanks to the great support provided by WWDS dive staff and Siren crew!!
|American banker and UK landscape designer for their day jobs, Pat Mohr (top) and Chris Jones demonstrate the use of hand signals when doing an RC substrate survey
|Sisters Catherine and Marie-Pier Deslauriers from Quebec made a great team for the fish surveys