Dive Dive Ascension by gdf57j

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									Dive Ascension




    Dive
    Contribute to Conservation
                          1
                            Welcome to Ascension

The waters around Ascension hold many wonders for divers. Though species
diversity may not be as high as in other tropical islands around the world, the
marine environment around Ascension is in pristine condition; the inshore fish have
never been exposed to commercial fisheries.

When you dive Ascension, the clear, warm waters with high visibility will present
you with live images of Whale sharks; dolphin; a large variety of inshore fish; eels
and of course the infamous green and hawksbill turtles.

The Conservation Department is running a programme to collect information about
as many of these species as possible. Any information you can collect during your
dives will be an important contribution to the database that is evolving.

This booklet outlines the various projects that are running, and explains the
information needed with forms that should be filled out and returned to the
Conservation Centre. We are open daily from 10-12 am and if you see the doors
open at any other time feel free to come in.

Enjoy the beauty of the waters of Ascension, - and be assured that your
contribution to data collection will be a factor that contributes to ensuring that
the waters stay the way they are for the divers of the future to marvel at.



Tara


Tara George
Ascension Island Government Conservation Officer
Conservation Centre
Georgetown
Ascension ASCN IZZ

e-mail: conservation@atlantis.co.ac
Website: www.ascensionconservation.org.ac
Telephone: (247) 6359



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                                    Dolphin and whale watch
    A Dolphin and Whale watch programme was initiated in August 2003. This is the first time that
    there has ever been a formal study of the dolphin and whale population around Ascension and
    already we have recorded one species of dolphin and one species of whale that were not known to
    occur around Ascension. The accumulation of data will, after a minimum period of a year, be used to
    describe movement and behaviour patterns for the Ascension dolphin and whale population.
    These are the species of dolphin and whale that you are likely to see around Ascension, with a little
    background information about them:


                                         Bottlenose Dolphin
                                          Size: 1.9-3.9m; 150-650kg
                                          Distribution: Tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters
                                          around the world,
                                          Diet: Opportunistic feeders, with a wide range of feeding
                                          techniques. Will take fish, squid, crustaceans and a variety of
                                          other prey
    Ascension: Locally this is called "cowfish" or "cow porpoise", or sometimes "angerine". On Ascension
    they move in groups of up to 10 animals. They often ‘bow-ride’ boats.


                              Pantropical Spotted Dolphin
                                Size: 1.7-2.4m; 90-115kg (noticeably smaller than the bottlenose)
                                Distribution: Widely distributed in the warm waters of the Atlantic,
                                Pacific and Indian Oceans, both inshore and offshore.
                                Diet: Squid and fish, possibly some crustaceans
    Ascension: Locally this is called “porpoise” They swim in much larger groups of up to 50 animals.


                                                               Humpback Whale
                                                                Size: 11.5-15m
                                                                Weight: 25-30 tonnes
                                                                Distribution: Widely distributed in all
                                                                oceans of the world, from the poles to
                                                                the tropics. Feeds in high latitudes
                                                                during the spring, summer and early
                                                                autumn, and migrates to tropical
                                                                breeding grounds for the winter.
                                                                Diet: Schooling fish (including herring,
                                                                sand lance, capelin, mackerel and salmon)
                                                                as well as krill and other crustaceans.
                                                                Status: Nearly a quarter of a million
                                                                humpback whales were killed by the
                                                                whaling industry, wiping out more than 95
    per cent of the world population. Fortunately, in recent years, they seem to be making a good
    recovery in many parts of their range.


All sightings of dolphins and whales need to be recorded on the sheet on the next page and
handed in to the Conservation Centre. If you need more copies of the forms, these are also
                           available from the Conservation Centre.                                      3
              Dolphin and Whale
               Sightings Form
                                          2. English Bay to
              1. Georgetown to               Ariane Site
                 English Bay
                                 English Bay
                                                                3. Ariane Site to
                                           Ariane Site             Letterbox
                            Georgetown


                                                         Letterbox
           6. Mars Bay to
            Georgetown
                                         Cocoanut Bay
                            Mars Bay
                                                              4. Letterbox to
                                                              Cocoanut Bay
                             5. Cocoanut Bay
                               to Mars Bay


 Please give as much of the following information as possible and
   return the form to Tara George or the Conservation Centre,
                  Georgetown, Ascension Island.
 Your Name:______________ Name of Boat:________________

 Time and Date of Sighting:________ Number of Animals:______

 Location of Sighting:___________________________________
         (mark position on the above map, give place name or
                      latitude and longitude or )
 Species:___________________________________________
  (name of species if known, if not type of animal and a description
  e.g. whale about 50 feet long or grey dolphin about 10 feet long)
 Areas You Visited on Day of Sighting____________________
(Give the numbers of the zones shown on the above map you went to
e.g. 1, 2 and 3 if you went from Georgetown to Boatswain bird Island)
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE
    DOLPHINS AND WHALES OF ASCENSION ISLAND

                                                                                    4
         Ascension Conservation Hawksbill Turtle Project
The Hawksbill turtle project is a joint venture between the Ascension Conservation
Department and the University of Exeter. The Green turtles on Ascension have
been well documented, however there has been no research done on the Hawksbill
turtles. Hawksbills do not nest on Ascension; therefore they need to be caught in
the ocean.

The aim of the project is to tag as many Hawksbill turtles as possible around
Ascension so that we can start to collect information on the movement of these
turtles around the island and internationally. The Hawksbills, once caught are
micro-chipped, measured and have tags attached to their flippers for
identification.

If you are interested in helping with this project, all you need to do is catch a
turtle and ring either Tara (6403) or Stedson(4497) when you get the turtle to
shore. Turtles do not undergo stress until 48 hours after being brought ashore, so
you will not be doing any harm to the animal.

The basic rules to follow are:

   •   When the turtle is caught, bring it to the surface – the shell has is jagged at
       the top, so you should use gloves to catch it
   •   Once surfaced, bring the turtle to shore as soon as possible
   •   On the shore, take the turtle to a location where it can be kept cool and
       regularly covered with water
   •   Contact the Conservation Officer (either at work or at home if it is after
       working hours) as soon as possible.



                                 Photo: Nick Bentham-Green assisting Stedson to tag the first
                                 Hawksbill turtle caught for the project – the turtle was named
                                 after him.



                                 .
                                                    The turtle that you
                                                    catch will be named
                                                    after you


                                                                                             5
Another part of the project is a sighting scheme. If you see any Hawksbill turtles,
please record this on the attached form and send this in to the Conservation
Department, Ascension Island Government at your earliest convenience

              HAWKSBILL TURTLE SIGHTINGS RECORDING SHEET
      PLEASE RECORD AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE, EVEN PARTIAL INFORMATION IS HELPFUL!


Name of observer…………………………………………………………………

Boat………………………………………………………………………………….

Contact address ………………………………………………………………………… Phone…………………

Email…………………………………………..

Date………………………… Time………………… Location (GPS position if

available)……………………………………………………………………..




ESTIMATED NO: total ……………………………………


  INDIVIDUAL DISTINGUISHING FEATURES (Drawings,etc)




Notes:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Please return to Conservation Centre, Georgetown, Ascension – Telephone 6359 e-mail
conservation@atlantis.co.ac



                                                                                            6
                            Photographic databank

Part of our research is to build up a photographic databank of the marine life
around Ascension. This data bank will then be used to identify all species that exist
in our waters. If you would like to contribute your photographs to this databank
that would be most appreciated. Please hand in a cd to the Conservation Office.

Sometimes we need to use underwater photographs for publications/publicity
material. If you don’t mind us using yours, please let us know, you will of course be
accredited. Here are a few samples from some of the photographs we have in our
databank:




Crayfish with hardback soldier               Squirrelfish
By Jimmy Young                               by Jimmy Young




Hawksbill Turtle                       Conger eel
By Dianne McCleish                     by Mal Moss




                                                                                   7
                           Underwater fish Surveys

Underwater fish surveys were set up on Ascension in August 2002. These surveys
need to be conducted on a regular basis – preferably once every six months, with
one being in the summer months and one in the winter months. Due to lack of human
resources, the Conservation Department has been unable to carry out these
surveys at the intervals required. Any assistance in collecting this data would be an
invaluable contribution.


If you would like to carry out these surveys, the following step-by-step guide
shows you how. Equipment can be borrowed from the Conservation Office.


Equipment needed at each dive site:
1 GPS
1 map of sites
1 50m line
For each diver:
1 target species survey sheet (attached)
1 common and endemic survey sheet (attached)
1 common species id sheet (attached)
1 endemic species id sheet (attached)
1 pencil
1 board/notebook


Survey method:
   1. Relocate site using GPS – record position and other environmental
      parameters eg sea state, cloud cover etc (as on form)
   2. Lay a 50m transect line, parallel to the shore at around a depth of 10m
   3. Once the line is laid, swim up and down the line and record the target species
      data. Only record what is seen within 2m either side of the line.
   4. Swim up and down the line again and record endemic and common species
      data. Only record what is seen within 2m either side of the line
   5. Record all underwater data on a blank survey sheet and return to
      Conservation Centre.




                                                                                   8
Site Locations:

Site no                         Site name/description             GPS position
1                               Monkey Rock
2                               Arches
3                               Left of Comfortless Cove
4                               Further left of Comfortless
                                Cove
5                               Right of Comfortless Cove
6                               Pyramid Point                     07 54 22 S 14 24 19 W
7                               White rock                        07 53 43 S 14 23 45 W
8                               Half way between English Bay      07 53 38 S 14 23 39 W
                                dump and Red Rock
9                               English Bay dump                  07 53 34 S 14 23 13 W
10                              English Bay steps
11                              English Bay Beach                 07 53 34 S 14 22 54 W
12                              English Bay Wreck                 07 53 30 S 14 22 52 W
13                              Off Crewtown
14                              Mitchells Cove                    07 57 02 S 14 25 16 W
15                              Normandy Wreck                    07 55 57 S 14 25 22 W
16                              Two Hook Jetty                    07 53 33 S 14 23 10 W


Environmental parameters to be recorded at each site:

Date:         Date of the survey
GPS           GPS position of survey site (ie where you dropped anchor)
Time          Time of start of survey
Visibility    Underwater visibility.
Cloud Cover   Measured in eighths (0-8) with 8 being total cloud cover and 0 being no cloud cover

Sea Temp      Record the sea temperature of the water at the transect depth

Sea state:    Use Beaufort scale

     0            Mirror Calm
     1            Slight ripples; no foam crests
     2            Small wavelets; glassy crests, but no whitecaps
     3            Large wavelets; crests begin to break; few whitecaps
     4            Longer waves; many whitecaps
     5            Moderate waves of longer form; some spray
     6            Large waves, whitecaps everywhere; frequent spray
     7            Sea heaps up; white foam blows in streaks
     8            Long, high waves; edges breaking; foam blows in streaks
     9            High waves; sea begins to roll; dense foam streaks.




                                                                                                    9
                           Target species survey sheet

Site name _________________               Date _____________________________
GPS______________________                 Depth ____________________________
Visibility __________________             Cloud Cover________________________
Time _____________________                Sea Temp _________________________
Seastate __________________               Recorded by _______________________



      Target        Grouper/Jack   Hardback   Softback/Bastard    Rock      Conger   Crayfish
species/Estimated                   Soldier        Soldier       Bullseye
   Length (cm)



       10

       15

      20

      25

      30

      35

      40

      45

      50

      55

      60

      65

      70




                                                                                         10
                 Endemic and Common species survey sheet

Site name _________________       Date _____________________________
GPS______________________         Depth ____________________________
Visibility __________________     Cloud Cover________________________
Time _____________________        Sea Temp _________________________
Seastate __________________       Recorded by _______________________


Endemic/common         1        2-4       5-16      17-64     65-256
    species
   abundance
     counts
Ascension Goby
Ascension
Wrasse
Cavalley Pilot
Yellowtail
Damselfish
Marmarlade
Razorfish
Mottled Blenny
Old Wife
(Seabream)
Splendid
Angelfish
White Hawkfish


Blackfish
Blackjack
Five finger
Flounder
Parrotfish
Shitty trooper
Silverfish




                                                                   11
       Endemic Fish of Ascension Island – ID sheet
                      Photos by John and Jane Bingeman




     Ascension Goby                                      Ascension Wrasse




     Cavalley Pilot                             Lubbocks Yellowtail Damselfish




Marmalade Razorfish                                      Mottled Blenny



                                                                            12
      Old Wife or Seabream                            Splendid Angelfish




            White Hawksfish

International Name      Local Name           Scientific Name
Apollo Damselfish       Cavalley Pilot       Chromis sp.
Ascension Goby                               Priolepis ascensionis
Ascension Wrasse                             Thalassoma ascensionis
Marmalade Razorfish                          Xyrichtys blanchardi
Mottled Blenny                               Scartella nuchifilis
Resplendent Angelfish   Splendid Angelfish   Centropyge resplendens
Seabream                Old wife             Diplodus ascensionis
White Hawksfish                              Amblycirrhitus earnshawi
Yellowtail Damselfish                        Stegastes lubbocki




                                                                           13
Common Species on Ascension Island – ID sheet




Blackfish                         Softback Soldier




    Hardback Soldier                  Bullseye




Common Conger                           Silverfish




                                                     14
            Blackjack                                         Fivefinger

              Flounder                                 Shitty Trooper




                          Parrotfish




International Name       Local Name         Scientific Name
Black Durgon             Blackfish          Melichthys niger
Coalfish                 Blackjack          Caranx lugubris
Glasseye Snapper         Bullseye           Heteropriacanthus cruentatus
Spotted Moray            Common Conger      Gymnothorax moringa
Seargent Major           Fivefinger         Abudefduf saxatilis
Peacock Flounder         Flounder           Bothus lunatus
Squirrelfish             Hardback Soldier   Holocentrus adscensionis
Island Hogfish Wrasse    Parrotfish         Bodianus insularis
Ocean Surgeonfish        Shitty Trooper     Acanthurus bahianus
Pompano                  Silverfish         Trachinotus ovatus
Blackbar Soldier         Softback Soldier   Myripristis jacobus



                                                                           15
                                      Thanks
  Thanks
                          Th
                     Thanks




Thank you very much for any contribution you have made to furthering
our knowledge about the underwater world around Ascension. We hope
to work with you again in the future.




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