This morning we were met with a wonderful surprise. Around the corner
from the fishing village, a fisherman carried a turtle over to us. He
said it had been caught in a net and needed to be released, as it was
not legal to keep. The turtle was placed on the beach for the ultimate photo-op, then I put him into the sea and he swam away. A fantastic start to a vacation for anyone, especially a marine scientist.
The day continued with sampling catches from 4 fishing vessels, and working out the kinks in our methods. When a catch comes ashore we put all the organisms into piles of the same species, then we weigh them and measure as many as time allows.
The first few catches of the day today brought in stingrays, lobsters, and crabs, among others. Jess, a friend and marine scientist who joined me on this trip explained the difference between male and female spiny lobsters to the group of fishermen and villagers who joined us on the beach. Twelve lobsters were caught, 10 of them were male. We then counted the stingrays, of the 20, 16 were male. This is only one sample, so it’s hard to draw conclusions, but it’s an interesting trend. More females often mean more reproductive capacity in a population, so we’re hoping to find more females as we sample over the next several weeks.
It’s great to be back. The big welcome by everyone in the village was heart-warming, and to be able to write this in a cool earth dome with the sound of the ocean in the background is just amazing. Looking forward to the work in the weeks ahead!
Many thanks to Meredith who took these fantastic photos!