One of the key causes of damage on the reef is rubbish that end up in the ocean. Big Blue is proud to say that they always take part in the monthly clean ups that are organised on the island. You would be amazed at the amount of rubbish and some of the more unusual items that are found!
Coral nurseries are of increasing importance because Reefs around the globe are threatened by human activities. Like many parts of the world, the economy on Koh Tao is reliant upon our natural reef areas and the visitors they bring. Koh Tao currently has a number of coral nurseries using different techniques for research and restoration purposes. It is hoped that coral colonies from these nurseries can help add to the reefs around Koh Tao and provide a means of restoring damaged areas faster than would naturally occur,as well as providing additional dive sites. A number of organisations including Save Koh Tao and dive operators on Koh Tao have begun constructing small coral nurseries to test the feasibility and success of different methods. So far 3 different types of structures have been built 3 and all three have been successful.
Big Blue conservation aims to contribute to this research, so that after a few months trial period the relative price and performance of each method can be optimised before making coral nurseries more widespread around the island. In the future, we would like to see a coral nursery near each dive site, and a few in places that currently are not being dived to provide alternative dive sites.
With nurseries in place in close proximity to dive sites, should a boat anchor or SCUBA divers break the corals, those fragments can be quickly brought to a secure growing area until they become large enough to transplant back onto the dive site. The nurseries themselves also serve as habitats for fish and a variety of other marine organisms, helping to maintain the reef abundance and biodiversity around Koh Tao.
Buoyancy world is brand new dive site with features designed specifically to take divers through training exercises without causing damage to the reef.
Buoyancy World was designed and constructed by the island’s community and dive schools through Save Koh Tao. The idea is that by teaching buoyancy skills on artificial structures in the water, we can help reduce dramatically the damage being done to the reef accidentally. The project also includes a coral and fish nursery which aims to restore and improve the abundance and biodiversity of Koh Tao’s reefs.
Features of Buoyancy World include:
* Training aids
* Swim throughs
* Balance beams
* Hover weights
* Rings, hoops and other obstacles
* Search and recovery objects
Bio-Rock is a technology that uses low voltage electrical current on artificial underwater structures to encourage growth of Corals and other reef life. Experiments with the technology worldwide have shown that it can help counteract some of the difficult environmental factors affecting coral growth.
In conjunction with Save Koh Tao, Big Blue and a consortium of other dive schools launched a pilot project a few years ago to see if the technology would be successful here. The pilot project has been so successful that a new larger Bio-Rock was constructed in 2008.
Now that the structure is in situ, regular dives are scheduled to the site for two main reasons. The first is to continue to plant broken Coral pieces on the structure and the second is to continue to monitor the growth of the test subjects. When the structure was first finished, test subjects were placed on the structure and tagged so that their growth could be monitored. This information is collated by Marine Conservation Koh Tao for scientific purposes. When a dive group visits the structure, various data including photographs are taken and then forwarded to Marine Conservation Koh Tao.
For more information on the technology visit www.biorock.net.
All dive briefings include low diver impact guidelines, such as warnings not to touch.
All night torches are powered using reusable batteries
All our dive professionals are educated on marine identification and conservation.
As part of the dive professional programmes, divers must contribute to a conservation project, such as coral nursery construction.
Big Blue has adopted North Sairee Beach. This means we are responsible for keeping this area clean and free from fishing.
The last Saturday of every month, Big Blue hosts a Beach and Underwater Clean up, which includes a free dive.
Big Blue organises the Swim for Sharks each year, a 7km sponsored swim to help reias money and awareness for sharks. Last year (2010), we raised 15,000 baht and obtained 460 signatures against shark fishing.
Big Blue is an avid contributor to Save Koh Tao projects, such as Buoyancy World and Koh Tao’s BioRock.
Big Blue wrote BSAC’s Marine Conservation Course, and was the first dive school to offer this international course.
The use of metal pointing sticks and diving gloves are forbidden, to help prevent divers touching the reef.
All dive leaders are educated on appropriate diving etiquette, particularly in the presence of sharks.
On our boats, nothing is allowed to be thrown overboard, including food waste. There are specific bins for recycling and cigarette disposal.
Divers are advised to apply sunscreen an hour before entering the water, as sunscreen can give corals a virus infection.
All batteries are recycled. We have a recycle bin for batteries in our shop for residents.
All shower heads are water-saving, and all leaks and dripping taps quickly rectified.
We strive to use biodegradable washing liquid for our laundry.
Rooms are cleaned using microfibre cloths, requiring no bleach-based chemicals.
When possible, we use our economical side-cart motorbike, known as a ‘salang’, in preference to our taxis.
All printing is done on recycled, non-bleached paper.
All bottles and cans are recycled, and we have easily accessible recycling facilities for residents.
We collect can ringpulls to send to prosthetic limb charity Ring Pulls to Limb.
We plant vetiver grass and lemon grass around our resort to help protect from soil erosion and to act as a natural mosquito repellent.
Where possible, food served in our restaurant is locally sourced from the island. Alternatively, it is bought from sustainable farms on the mainland.
Where possible, we use natural lighting through skylights to light our buildings.
Big Blue has a ‘no straw’ policy. Straws and plastic cutlery are only provided upon specific request.
We are currently working with government officials to educate locals on climate change, including the construction of a climatology centre on the island.
Our staff and Divermaster trainees frequently visit the local school to educate the children on fish and coral, and teach them how to snorkel. Through this, we hope to educate future local generations on the potential resources of their reefs and that we should strive to sustain them.
Our boats are properly maintained to ensure no oil is leaked.
We advise against the use of shampoos and conditioners containing high amounts of preservatives, and offer customer the chance to purchase environmentally friendly washing products. In each bathroom, natural soap is provided which we buy from a local village.
All lights use energy-saving bulbs.
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+66 (0) 77-456-772 (Fax)