Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Spectacular Diving at Kadmat Island, India

Kadmat is one of the larger islands of Lakshadweep, 400 km off the west coast of India. It is 8 km long and 500 m wide.

The remoteness of Kadmat Island really gives you a feeling of "getting away from it all" - but this comes at a price, either in terms of money or time. Staying on Kadmat Island and paying for the dives are not expensive (in fact, comparatively cheap), but getting to Kadmat is.

The only flight into the Lakshadweep archipelago is from the city of Cochin which is in south India. There is only one flight a day (Monday through Saturday) and it takes two hours. These flights are cancelled every now and then for various reasons. If you do manage to fly to Lakshadweep, you have to take a 3- to 4-hour speedboat transfer to Kadmat.

A cheap alternative to the flight-speedboat option is taking an 18- to 24-hour ship journey from Cochin directly to Kadmat, though this is also fairly unreliable since (a) the ship schedule sometimes changes at the last minute and (b) the ships are very old and may be cancelled because of engine failure or things like that. If you do decide to go, build in a few days of delay-time.

On the upside, I faced almost all these problems in my recent trip to Kadmat - and I still think the trip was worth it. The diving was truly spectacular, and Kadmat had a wonderfully comfortable, mellow island feel to it. At one point there were only 3 of us on the whole resort. I only wish I could have stayed there longer!

The Lakshadweep islands have the same gorgeous marine life and great visibility as the Maldives, only for much cheaper. The dive centre I trained with - Lacadives - had a great student-to-teacher ratio - I was the only student! Lacadives is located in the Kadmat Resort. This is at the isolated South tip of the island. Kadmat is one of the few Lakshadweep islands which is open to foreign tourists.

by Trushna

TRAVEL INSURANCE with the option of diving to 50 m. For
more details visit
and quote ref 100534 to ensure you get the best deal.

What do you think of this news item? Start a discussion.
Subscribe to SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) for more free news, articles, diving reports and marine life descriptions -

Labels: ,

Monday, April 23, 2007


Murky waters: Media reporting of marine protected areas in South Australia

A study to be published in the Marine Policy journal found the public poorly informed on marine protection.

A well-informed public is more likely to support environmental issues and informing the public about marine protection presents a unique challenge. People consider newspapers, in particular, a credible media source. However, newspaper articles tend to concentrate on opposing stakeholders and opinions. They are largely ineffective in conveying the significance of the local marine ecology and the economic benefits of a marine protected area. They thus help delay the establishment of marine reserves.

The authors, from Flinders University, reviewed articles from five Australian newspapers between 1999 and 2006. "We are seeing only sectoral interests - a few conservation groups, politicians from both parties, and the organised groups of commercial and recreational fishers - represented in the press," said researcher Dr Beverley Clarke "The fact that the broader population is generally supportive of MPAs is overlooked."

Journal Reference: Eric Compas, Beverley Clarke, Cecile Cutler and Kathy Daish. (20 April 2007) Marine Policy. 10.1016/j.marpol.2007.03.001 (in press)

What do you think of this news item? Start a discussion.
Subscribe to SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) for more free news, articles, diving reports and marine life descriptions -


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Cuckoldry incites cannibalism: Male Fish eat offspring

When a male fish is uncertain that he is the father of a clutch of eggs, he is likely to eat those eggs, according to a study in The American Naturalist. This filial cannibalism (the eating of one's own offspring) increases proportionately with increased levels of cuckoldry.

In field observations of Telmatherina sarasinorum, a small fish endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia, males increased filial cannibalism behavior threefold in the presence of one cuckolder and nearly sixfold in the presence of two or more cuckolders. The researchers Suzanne Gray, Lawrence Dill and Jeffrey McKinnon suggest that "males may use detection of cuckolders as an indication that the paternity of current offspring has been compromised".

The evolution of filial cannibalism is thought to be driven by an energetic trade-off between caring for the current brood and investing in future reproductive success by eating offspring. In species with male parental care, a male's assessment of the value of the current brood can incorporate information on his own energy reserves, the quality and availability of mates, prey availability and his perceived certainty of paternity. If a male perceives that the value of his current brood is low, then eating it may improve his future reproductive success.

Most work, and all theory, on the evolution of filial cannibalism has previously focused on understanding the energetic trade-off in fishes that provide parental care, mostly by males. Parental care requires an investment in both time and energy spent rearing or guarding offspring, whereas in the absence of parental care, there is no energetic cost beyond mating. In both cases, eating offspring is expected to add to future reproductive success through an energy gain; however, parental caregivers could also benefit by relieving themselves of low-value offspring.

Perceived certainty of paternity based on visual detection of cuckolders by a male could immediately indicate the value of potential offspring by providing information on expected relatedness. Filial cannibalism could be a tactic to recoup energy lost to mating efforts (e.g., through aggressive male-male interactions over mates) and hence increase energy for the next mating bout. The cost to a male of mistakenly consuming some of his own eggs may be high with respect to his reproductive fitness. However, this cost may be outweighed by the benefit of securing more energy to find another mating opportunity where his certainty of paternity is higher.

Journal reference: American Naturalist 2007. Vol. 169, pp. 258-263.

What do you think of this news item? Start a discussion.
Subscribe to SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) for more free news, articles, diving reports and marine life descriptions -

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Turtle hatchery established in North Sulawesi

The North Sulawesi Watersports Association (NSWA)has long been aware that the Sea Turtles, which are attracted to the long sandy beaches of Bunaken Marine Park on Indonesia's Siladen Island, are on the brink of extinction.

With the advice and support of the WWF in Indonesia, the NSWA has established a turtle hatchery in Bunaken Marine Park on a section of beach where the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. To ensure minimum interference in the natural process only those eggs at risk from being swept away by high tides will be moved to the hatchery to give them a better chance of survival. Any eggs laid by turtles that are safe will be left in place but will be monitored to make sure that they are well protected and untouched during the 45-60 day period of incubation.

The chances of survival for young turtles are quite slim and the NSWA hopes that the establishment of the hatchery will boost the odds for them. It takes 35 years before a turtle is sexually mature and once fertilized the female returns to the beach on which she was born to lay her eggs. They have been known to swim right across the Pacific in order to return to the beach of their birth. When the baby turtles hatch they have to scramble across the sand to reach the sea, a time when they are very vulnerable from swooping sea birds looking for an easy meal. Once in the sea they are still open to attacks from predators.

The first turtle laid 120 eggs on 13th February close to the hatchery and the NSWA reports that all is going well and they are expected to hatch in early April. Many more turtles are expected soon as the peak nesting season is between now and the end of June. The NSWA are using the opportunity to involve local schoolchildren in the monitoring process to educate them about the turtles and their importance in the balance of all marine life.

What do you think of this news item? Start a discussion.
Subscribe to SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) for more free news, articles, diving reports and marine life descriptions -

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?