Monday, 18 August 2008

Diving in the Fiji Islands, the Mamanuca Experience

Fiji is famous as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World,” a description attributed to the famous diving pioneer Jean-Michel Cousteau. The tropical diving holiday in the Mamanuca Islands lives up to this promise in a spectacular fashion but offers much, much more.

In the Mamanuca Islands we have something for everyone - whatever your underwater interest. There is a huge selection of dive sites to cater for every diver, from the beginner, the newly certified to the most experienced, with a world class variety of tropical diving. Many of the island resorts are PADI Resort or IDC members and some of the resorts are even award winning PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Resort facilities. There are also live aboard options and even the small ship cruising operators offer diving packages.

This means that if you have never dived before you can experience diving for the first time or can become a qualified open water diver during your stay in the Mamanuca Islands. For experienced divers a full range of PADI courses are available to broaden your skills or simply go out and experience some of the best sites in Fiji.

Many of the Mamanuca dive sites have featured in the most popular dive magazines around the world. Popular dives include Shark encounters, Moray Eel feeds, wall dives, Pinnacle Dives, Pelagics, Soft Corals and Shipwrecks. There are reef drops to over 80 metres with ledges and caves and every site features an abundance of fish life, Having a diving holiday, or learning to dive in Mamanuca Islands of Fiji is the best thing you will do all year.

Diving in the Fiji Islands, the Mamanuca Experience

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology

Gerald R. Allen, Joshua Drew and Paul Barber: Cirrhilabrus beauperryi, a new wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from Melanesia, pp. 129-140


Cirrhilabrus beauperryi

Underwater photograph of terminal phase (male) Cirrhilabrus beauperryi in courtship display, approximately 115 mm TL, 15 m depth, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo by G. R. Allen.

Cirrhilabrus beauperryi is described from eight specimens, 49.0-85.1 mm SL, collected at Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Field observations also reveal its occurrence at the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, and Manus), Madang (Papua New Guinea), and Solomon Islands. The new species is closely related to and has frequently been confused with C. punctatus from Fiji, Tonga, New Caledonia, eastern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. The two species are clearly separable on the basis of colour pattern. Terminal-phase individuals of C. beauperryi are generally purplish grading to blue ventrally and greenish or yellowish brown dorsally with a broad purple stripe along the basal half of the otherwise pale yellow dorsal fin. In contrast, terminal-phase C. punctatus are generally reddish brown to dark grey on the upper two-thirds of the head and body and abruptly white below with broad black stripes along the base of mainly red dorsal and anal fins. They also differ noticeably with respect to the colouration on the base of the pectoral fins: in C. beauperryi it is mainly violet with a narrow, inconspicuous purple bar; that of C. punctatus is prominently marked with a broad black bar. The pectoral-base marking is also useful for distinguishing initial-phase fish. The terminal phase of C. beauperryi also exhibits a unique median head profile characterised by a rounded forehead and concave interorbital region. DNA analysis reveals the two species are genetically distinct. (PDF)

Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology

Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology

Gerald R. Allen, Joshua Drew and Les Kaufman: Amphiprion barberi, a new species of anemonefish (Pomacentridae) from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, pp. 105-114



Amphiprion melanopus, underwater photograph of adult, about 75.0 mm SL, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, 3 m depth. Photo by G. R. Allen.

Amphiprion barberi, a new species of anemonefish fish, is described from 46 specimens, 16.3-85.8 mm SL, collected at depths of 2-10 m from coral reefs of Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa. It is closely allied to A. melanopus, which is widely distributed in the western Pacific. The two species exhibit significant colour-pattern differences, including a mainly reddish orange body in A. barberi and dark brown or blackish body in A. melanopus. Adults of the new species also possess fewer spinules (11-19 versus 19-26) in the upper-opercular series than A. melanopus. Genetic data presented here confirms the separation of these species. (PDF)

Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology

Tokoriki Diving, Fiji: Tokoriki Diving: Giant Clams Regeneration Project

Tokoriki Diving, Fiji: Tokoriki Diving: Giant Clams Regeneration Project

Fluted ClamThe Giant Clam is one of the most fascinating inhabitants of the Fijian reefs. It is a creature of great beauty and wonder to snorkeling and diving guests alike. It is also impressive to say the least—the species tridacna gigas if allowed to reach full maturity can grow to the size of a bathtub! Indeed in the Lau Islands of Fiji the Islanders still use the shell of tridacna gigas as babies’ baths!

Sadly the reefs and pinnacles surrounding Tokoriki Island have been depleted of their stocks of certain species of Giant Clams. A serious cause for concern especially when one considers the odds nature itself has stacked up against the Giant Clam.

Dive Tropex Tokoriki in conjunction with PADI Project AWARE and the Ministry of Fisheries have initiated ‘The Tokoriki Island Giant Clam Regeneration Project’. Three Species of Clams: tridacna gigas (Giant), tridacna squamosa (Fluted) and tridacna derasa (Smooth) have been planted around Tokoriki Island. This is a significant conservation step for Fiji as our tridacna gigas and tridacna derasa are the first of their species to be reintroduced to Western Fiji—having become extinct in Fiji in the 1960s.

The Clams are protected, monitored and maintained by Dive Tropex Tokoriki.

Interested Scuba Diving Guests and Discover Scuba Divers (Resort Divers) are invited to support our project by doing a dive to our conservation site just three minutes away from Tokoriki. In addition to the three planted species ‘Magic Mushrooms’ is home to another three species of clams—the maxima, the crocus (rare) and the extremely rare endemic Terove’s Clam. Clams aside it’s also an excellent dive for macro lovers, with active fish life and nice soft corals. Press Release from December 19th, 2000.

Our Giant Clam reef has recently been included in the Tokoriki Island Resort Marine Reserve, which should ensure the protection of the clams and bring a further increase in fish population.

Tokoriki Diving, Fiji: Tokoriki Diving: Giant Clams Regeneration Project

Good sign for tourism - Fiji Times Online

Good sign for tourism - Fiji Times Online

Friday, August 08, 2008

ONE of Australia's largest travel agency says Fiji should brace itself for a surge in visitor arrivals.

Travelscene chief executive Mike Thomson said despite the political events of 2006, Fiji was still a popular destination among Australians.

Mr Thomson said with Fiji products competitively priced, the industry was well positioned to compete against markets such as Bali.

Following the Travelscene American Express Frontliners Conference at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort last weekend, Mr Thomson believes arrival figures could double in the coming months.

With more than 550 travel agents attending the conference, he said they were able to get an insight into the situation and get first-hand experience of the products available in the country.

Mr Thomson said Fiji was a major holiday destination for Australian travel agents and the huge attendance of travel agents at the conference was an indication of the promotion the country would receive when the agents returned to work.

"We hope to bring the numbers up and we are confident that after this conference there will be a huge lift in arrivals.

"Australians are quite forgiving and despite the events of 2006, there are no issues about Australians travelling to Fiji," said Mr Thomson.

While addressing the conference, Fiji Visitors Bureau chairman Patrick Wong said they hoped to raise tourist arrival figures to 245,000 this year, 282,000 in 2009 and 324,000 in 2010.

This year's figure represented a 23 per cent growth in arrivals while those of 2009 and 2010 marked a 15 per cent growth.

"The targets are unrealistic. Careful consideration has been given to total airline inventory from Australia to Fiji, available room inventory in the major tourism and emerging tourism zones as well as the economic climate and consumer sentiments in Australia," he said.

Pleading for the support of travel agents, Mr Wong said the path forward for Fiji tourism depended on the role they played in promoting Fiji's friendly hospitality and diverse holiday options.

Good sign for tourism - Fiji Times Online

Monday, 11 August 2008

Namena Marine Reserve

Our Projects | Coral Reef Alliance

The Namena Marine Reserve, located off the southwest coast of the island of Vanua Levu, was created in 1997 to respond to the combined pressures of increased fishing, tourism activity, and poaching on the reef. When CORAL started working with the reserve several years later, the local Kubulau community wanted to improve its resources and management of the reserve.

To this end, CORAL facilitated the development of a successful and transparent user fee system that supports a variety of community initiatives and general management of the marine reserve. User fee revenues have been used to offset school fees and build bus stops in an economically depressed area of the Kubulau District. In addition, CORAL has offered training in Sustainable Marine Recreation (SMR) for local marine recreation providers as a means of increasing knowledge and experience of responsible tourism business practices. With CORAL’s help, the KMRC has created an environment of trust and open communication among local stakeholders. All eight dive operators that currently visit the Namena Marine Reserve support the park and fully comply with its user fee system.

Because CORAL staff and field representatives have consistently delivered on our commitments, we have become a well-regarded partner to the community. As a result, we have recently expanded the geographic focus of our work to include the entire scope of the community’s traditional fishing grounds—known as Qoliqoli—of which the Namena Marine Reserve is a significant portion. Along with such project partners as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), CORAL has launched several ambitious projects designed to elevate the entire Kubulau Qoliqoli Conservation Corridor (KQCC) to a level of conservation excellence, against which CORAL hopes to measure all future project sites.

Our Projects | Coral Reef Alliance

Thursday, 7 August 2008


One of the ReefBase's main focuses is to maintain a global repository of
coral bleaching data to support coral reef monitoring and related
research. There rises an urgent need to obtain a more complete
information and data on coral bleaching as the phenomenon continues to
emerge as one of the most significant and widespread threat to coral
reefs around the world. 

The gathering of coral bleaching information is hence a key action to
the scientific understanding and the prediction of the fate of coral
reefs- subsequently to develop feasible and effective management
strategies. Hence, ReefBase has strived to maintain the most up-to-date
global database on coral bleaching events available, as well as a
comprehensive collection of images and reports related to bleaching. 

1.        If you have any information on bleaching events (anywhere
around the world), please submit a bleaching report to ReefBase using a
form available here

2.        Other data relating to coral bleaching can also be submitted in
the form of publication references, photos and maps

4.       These data will then be synthesized and integrated into graphs
and ReefGIS maps, which has been a useful data resource for many studies
concerning coral bleaching.
5.       ReefBase also provide a global protocol for assessment and
monitoring of coral bleaching -  developed by the WorldFish Center and
WWF which can be downloaded here
<> . 


Alternatively, the ReefBase team would definitely like to hear any
questions or suggestions regarding datasets of coral bleaching by
dropping me an email. 

Thank you all in advance for the kind contribution.


Evelyn Teh

Research Assistant

ReefBase Project

The WorldFish Center

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A perfect debt relief solution for us, compulsive dive travelers...

From my own experience as a dive traveller, I know that it is quite easier to get in debt than it is to find ourselves ending any dive trip with our pockets full of money, right? Well, you don’t even need to be as much of a compulsive dive traveller as me to get in debt and that's a reallity that we can’t ignore.

When I found myself in debt a while back all I wanted was that someone almighty enough could really help me. But that never happened, of course!

So, what I had to do was finding the best Debt Relief solution for me which ended up being the one offered by Freedom Debt Relief which is a dedicated website where you can get a very different debt relief solution that what you are probably used to see in other places. In fact, you can be debt free in as little as 12 months, debt down is as low as 50% of what you owe and you only have to make one simple monthtly payment, could it be eaier, safer and more accessible than this? You are also protected by a Service Fee Money Back Guarantee policy which also assures you that you never get disappointed with this debt relief solution, allowing you to smile once again and carry on with your life without that strange feeling of a cord in your throat!

As their website is extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate, I am sure that you won’t ever find any difficulties finding the information you need or even filling the online quotes…

So, what are you waiting for? Just solve your problem as soon as possible and you will see that you will feel a lot better!

This Post Brought to you by

PADI Asia Pacific B2B Online Shopping Cart Launches Today!

Receive a free PADI cap when you place an order online during August 2008!*
The B2B Online Shopping Cart has now launched today in Asia Pacific! PADI Members now have an even easier and more efficient way to order and manage their educational product inventory.

That’s not all! To highlight the launch of the new Shopping Cart, PADI Asia Pacific Members who order online during the month of August 2008, will also receive a FREE PADI CAP when they place a minimum order of AU$100.00. (While stocks last.)
Using the latest technology, the Shopping Cart enables members to place and track orders, view purchase history and get the latest information about new products and special promotions.
PADI’s online Shopping Cart never closes and instantly recognises PADI Members when they log on to the Pro Section at PADI’s online Shopping Cart offers several key features:
  • The new online catalogue offers prompts to view related, new or upgraded products, keeping PADI Members informed of the latest developments
  • Recurring order function allows for effortless placement of repeat orders
  • Quick Order option allows busy PADI Members to “enter and go” by simply entering a product number
  • Checkout options let PADI Members view costs for various shipping methods such as road, international air and priority
PADI Asia Pacific will continue to maintain full sales and field service staffs, enabling members to receive the best virtual and real customer service and convenience. PADI Members will still enjoy the relationship they share with their Sales Consultant and Regional Manager, but will have the additional resource of an enhanced online shopping cart. 
To begin purchasing, simply log onto the PADI Pros Site and click on the ‘Shop Online’ tab at the top right-hand corner of the page and away you go!

For more information about PADI’s new online Shopping Cart, contact your local PADI Sales Consultant, phone: +61 2 9454 2822 or email:  and get ready to log on to the PADI Pro’s Section on to receive your FREE PADI CAP during the month of August, 2008 with orders of AU$100.00 or more (while stocks last).

*PADI Asia Pacific Members who place a minimum online order of AUD$100.00 during the month of August 2008, will receive a free PADI Cap, while stocks last.
Best Regards From,
PADI Asia Pacific

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Reef Check's International Photo Contest

Reef Check's International Photo Contest is up and running and photos can be submitted until August 31st. This is a great opportunity to win some fantastic prizes!
You can enter and read more here:
There are 3 Tropical Reef categories as well as a category for photographers 16 years old and younger:
People and the Reef
Images entered in this category must be powerful and memorable, showing the relationship between coral reefs and human beings (positive or negative); originality is key. Contestants must be 17 or older by the entry date. Image manipulation in this category is limited to global adjustments of white balance, tonal range, color balance, saturation, minor backscatter removal, cropping, dodge & burn, sharpening, and noise reduction. Digital composites are not allowed in this category. See
rule 7.

Creative Visions of the Reef
Entries to this category should reveal new ways of seeing coral reefs and what they mean to you. Represent your vision in an imaginative or abstract way that captures the essence of the coral reef environment. Judges will be looking for originality and artistic vision. Contestants must be 17 or older by the entry date. Image manipulation in this category is limited to global adjustments of white balance, tonal range, color balance, saturation, minor backscatter removal, cropping, dodge & burn, sharpening, and noise reduction. Digital composites are allowed in this category. See
rule 7.
Animal Behavior
Submissions must show memorable, unusual or striking behavior of any of the multitude of animals found on the reef. As with all categories, originality is key. Contestants must be 17 or older by the entry date. Image manipulation in this category is limited to global adjustments of white balance, tonal range, color balance, saturation, minor backscatter removal, cropping, dodge & burn, sharpening, and noise reduction. Digital composites are not allowed in this category. See
rule 7.
Young Photographer
Submissions must capture scenery or a beautiful composition of tropical coral or California rocky reefs; originality is key. Contestants must be 16 or younger by the entry date. Image manipulation in this category is limited to global adjustments of white balance, tonal range, color balance, saturation, minor backscatter removal, cropping, dodge & burn, sharpening, and noise reduction. Digital composites are not allowed in this category. See rule 7
You can also vote for your favorite photos entered into the Reef Check Australia Photo Contest:

Interactive SHARK WEEK: Bust Shark Myths on Your Mobile Phone

Project AWARE Foundation and Discovery Mobile Advocate for Shark Conservation

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – Project AWARE Foundation teams up with Discovery Mobile to help de-bunk shark myths and educate public audiences about the dire need for their conservation around America’s favorite summer television event, Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK.

Using your mobile phone, log on to and select SHARK WEEK’s Bust the Myth Quiz. Challenge your knowledge on the mystery and power of sharks and the threats facing their survival worldwide.

Now in its 21st year, SHARK WEEK airs nightly from July 27 to August 2 on Discovery Channel. This season’s programs address myths about sharks, spotlight lesser-known and unusual sharks, and educate the public about the importance of sharks through conservation information. As part of Discovery’s commitment to educating the public about the plight of sharks around the world, Discovery Mobile has partnered with Project AWARE Foundation to offer consumers this engaging and educational interactive application.

Project AWARE Foundation, also a member of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a group made up of governments, regional, environmental and academic organizations, met recently and released a recommendation on improving shark conservation for coral reef resiliency.

“The ICRI Recommendation makes it clear that as apex predators, sharks play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems,” states Jenny Miller Garmendia, Director for Project AWARE Foundation. “Fewer sharks can mean negative cascading effects across the food web. Loss of apex predators causes population changes that negatively impact reef and other marine ecosystems. We are depleting shark populations worldwide at alarming rates and it’s vital that we act now for their conservation. We’re excited to partner with Discovery Mobile in spreading the word on conservation during SHARK WEEK.”

Project AWARE Foundation, involved in shark conservation monitoring, education and initiatives for more than ten years, calls for your action during SHARK WEEK and beyond. What else can you do?

Support the Shark Conservation Act of 2008 – which aims to end shark “finning” the practice of slicing off the shark fins and discarding the body at sea – Project AWARE and many conservation organizations are supporting the initiative. Find out more at

Submit Your Shark Conservation Images and Win Big – compelling images, including those of threatened shark species, are needed for conservation. Enter the Ocean in Focus Conservation Photography Contest and compete for top prizes at


Project AWARE Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization, works in direct partnership with divers and water enthusiasts to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. Project AWARE Headquarters in the United States and offices in Australia, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Japan combine efforts to protect aquatic resources in 175 countries and territories of the world. For more information on Project AWARE Foundation’s environmental initiatives visit


Project AWARE Foundation, also a member of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a group made up of governments, regional, environmental and academic organizations, met recently and released a recommendation on improving shark conservation for coral reef resili"