Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Intern

Mardia: New Aquarist, Raja Ampat Research & Conservation Centre

For the past 13 years, AquaMarine Diving – Bali has conducted an annual ‘11 Months Zero-to-Hero PADI Divemaster Internship for Young Indonesians’. The Internship is a major initiative by AMD-B to re-invest in Indonesia’s dive community and to raise awareness of global and local environmental issues. Everyone in AquaMarine strives to provide the highest level of all-round training and guidance.

In addition, a major part of each year’s Internship includes participation in ‘Blue Project by AMD-B‘. These include Project AWARE’s ‘Dive Against Debris’, Adopt-A-Dive-Site, Beach and Underwater Clean-ups, as well as several other projects that raise awareness of global and local environmental issues. By the end of their programme, our Interns confidently pursue careers within Indonesia’s dive industry as well as with NGOs and other conservation organisations.

One of AMD-B’s two 2023 Interns, Mardia, is now working as the Shark Aquarist for the Raja Ampat Research & Conservation Centre (RARCC) (part of ReShark).

Mardia-2023-Intern

Mardia as the Shark Aquarist

In 2023, after three years of planning, the StAR Project, powered by ReShark, started its mission to rewild endangered Leopard sharks (also known as Zebra sharks or Stegostoma tigrinum) in Raja Ampat. The StAR Project aims to reintroduce 500 Leopard sharks to Raja Ampat, ultimately establishing a healthy, self-sustaining population. Furthermore, the project also serves as a roadmap, allowing scientists to apply what they have learned to the rewilding of other endangered elasmobranch species.

Last month, RARCC received a new batch of shark eggs from the Georgia Aquarium and the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. All the eggs successfully hatched. Three of the pups have been named Wooly, Myra and Ethan.

Mardia said “It’s exhilarating to be part of the ReShark Team. Working closely with the sharks and ensuring their well-being fills me with never-ending excitement, curiosity, and a sense of fulfilment. Here, people call me “Mama Hiu” (Mummy Shark) which I find cute and I love it!”
Here’s her first Instagram video from her new job.

 

Decrease Single-Used Plastic

One Voice to a Global Movement to Decrease Single-Used Plastic

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

Plastic, a widely used material, has gained immense popularity due to its affordability, lightweight, and easy manufacturability. The past century has witnessed an exponential increase in plastic production, surpassing almost every other material. However, the alarming fact is a significant portion of plastic produced is intended for one-time use, resulting in an enormous amount of plastic waste.

Single-Used-Plastic

An estimated 6,300 million tonnes of plastics have been discarded since the beginning of mass production in the 1950s. Approximately only 9% of plastic trash worldwide gets recycled, while 12% is incinerated. Due to its strong durability, most of these plastics are accumulating in either landfills or the natural environment.

The consequences of plastic waste are far-reaching, affecting both the ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who rely on them. Environmental effects range from short-term, such as animal entanglement, to long-term, such as harmful component bioaccumulation in the food chain.

Growing worry about the usage of single-use plastics can be seen all across the world. It is becoming abundantly evident that the contribution that each of us makes to the reduction of plastic waste is of the utmost importance as our understanding of the effect that our routine actions have on the environment expands.

Consequences-of-Plastic-Waste

What can one voice achieve in the face of such a large-scale problem?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. We can make a difference by reducing our use of single-use plastics and encouraging others to do the same. A single voice can become a powerful force when it joins with others in a common cause.

Simple actions such as using reusable shopping bags, refusing plastic cutlery, and drinking from reusable water bottles can significantly reduce our plastic footprint. We can also support businesses that prioritize sustainable packaging and participate in local clean-up efforts to remove plastic waste from our communities.

The issue of single-use plastic is daunting, but it is manageable. Each of us has the power to influence change through our daily actions and by raising our voices to advocate for sustainable practices. Remember, the journey to a plastic-free world begins with one voice – yours.

One-Voice-to-a-Global Movement

The Blue Project’s 2023 Recap of Activities

Year in Review: The Blue Project's 2023 Recap of Activities

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

Throughout 2023, the Blue Project has worked tirelessly on various activities to promote ocean conservation. In this post, we will provide a recap of the activities that we have accomplished. From monthly beach clean-ups to coral restoration efforts, school visits, community collaborations, webinars, and more, we have made significant strides in our mission to protect and preserve the ocean.

Monthly Beach Clean-up and Dive Against Debris

One of our recurring events is the Monthly Beach Clean-up and Dive Against Debris, which occurs every fourth day of the month. Before diving, we dedicate approximately 30 – 45 minutes to cleaning the beach in the coastal area of Padangbai. As of December, we have collected a total of 146.94 kgs of debris, including plastic cups, fragments, cigarette butts, lids, and other non-degradable materials. After the beach clean-up, we proceeded with the dive against debris at our adopted sites, the Jetty and Blue Lagoon area. So far, we have removed 162.325 kgs of debris from small pieces to the giant debris such as ghost fishing net. Plastic materials such as fragments, cups, and packaging are the most common debris.

The-Blue-Project-Adopt-The-Blue-Site

Installed 45 Reef Stars and Coral Monitoring

In March, in collaboration with Livingseas, we installed the first twenty reef stars for coral restoration. Over the following months, we continued to install fifteen more reef stars on April and 10 units in May. bringing the total to 45 reef stars by May. Each reef star is planted with coral fragments (Acropora branching) and we have successfully restored 810 coral fragments.

Three School Visits at Local Schools around Bali

In 2023, we were privileged to visit three schools in Pejarakan (Buleleng), Gianyar, and Kuta to raise awareness about the ocean. In Pejarakan, we focused on the mangrove ecosystem and waste management due to the proximity of the environment to the mangroves. In Gianyar, our primary emphasis was turtle conservation and how waste can impact the ecosystem. Our last school visit was in Kuta, where we educated students on proper waste management, as the school is near our office.

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Community Collaboration with Mangrove Nusantara and Saba Asri

To promote environmental awareness among students in Pejarakan Buleleng, we collaborated with Mangrove Nusantara to develop an engaging educational game to inspire the younger generation to become stewards of the ocean. This year, we also collaborated with Saba Asri Sea Turtle Conservation to provide some of the kids with an unforgettable experience by releasing sea turtles on Saba Beach.

The-Blue-Project-with-Saba-Asri

Webinar: Spreading Conservation Message

We organised a series of webinars on Zoom to expand our reach and engage more individuals in our conservation efforts. We invited renowned marine biologists, conservationists, and ocean enthusiasts to share their valuable work and insights. Through these webinars, we aim to create a community of passionate individuals dedicated to preserving our marine ecosystems.