It’s nearly halfway through my second expedition in Andavadoaka, and it’s hard to believe how quickly it has all flown by! I definitely wasn’t ready to leave after the first 6 weeks, so I’m glad I chose to do 2 expeditions.
Other than the option to train to divemaster level, there are so many bonuses to doing a second expedition; I did all my science training and tests at the beginning of the first expedition so this time round I’ve had the chance to help others with species learning and in water ‘point outs’
(practising with identifying fish and benthic life forms), and I have more time to get even more involved with other projects apart from the main reef surveying; currently we are doing a study into the significance of the lobster and squid fisheries, so over the past few weeks we have been conducting interviews with local sous collectors (local people who work for various fish companies who buy produce straight from the fishermen) and fishermen (through a translator) to find out about the fishing methods, fishing grounds and the logistics and financial aspects for the fishermen and the sous collectors of the different species. Being on the front line of a brand new research project like this is really exciting, and it’s also very special to see the respect the village has for BV and the work we are doing, as they are all more than willing to help out and answer our questions (which can take a while as the questions and answers are translated…). Hopefully we will finish the preliminary interviews in the next few days, then we can move on to getting the sous collectors to record the amount, weight, individual specimen size, etc of everything they buy from the fishermen over a period of time, so eventually we can understand whether these species need to be protected or managed in order for the fishery to be sustainable.
As this is my gap year, and I hope to work in conservation after I graduate, the kind of first hand experience I am getting with BV has definitely proved that this is the kind of work I’d ultimately like to end up doing! My time thus far with Blue Ventures has been everything I could have imagined and more, these are 12 weeks that will be with me for the rest of my life.
Emily, BV Volunteer