Nov 26th - Dec 25th, 1998
Almost 20% of corals studied with Vitareef.
One colony possibly infected with black band disease, though difficult to identify
Many of the shallow reefs in the area of the town of Banggai, on Banggai Island, had been bombed by local fishermen. We heard, on average, about three bombs every day. We saw several shallow fields which were almost completely dead coral rubble, with the exception of a couple of anemone, urchins, and small fish. The bombs were mainly used on shallow reefs, so any reefs with a sharp drop off tended to be much more healthy. The reason for this is that the bombs are limited in the depth at which they will explode, and they tend to "work" only at depths of less than 20m. All shallow reef crests were completely foraged by the Bajau (a nomadic tribe of sea people), who harvest a great number of creatures from the reef. In this area there is also an overabundance of reef fish being collected for aquarium, especially the Banggai cardinal fish, only recently discovered by scientists, which is already in danger of being over fished. On the positive front, our reef fish expert estimates that Banggai had the richest diversity of small fish that he had ever seen.