The ship wreck at Netrani used by WCS-India researchers as training site. Picture credit: Venkat Charloo
Late in November 2019, the four members of the Marine Conservation Program's core team underwent a refresher diving course at Netrani, Karnataka. Given that the field season has just begun, the team felt it would be best to recalibrate their skills underwater, get accustomed to each other's diving abilities and nuances, and revise how to collect data underwater.
Netrani is a small island roughly 10 kms to the west of Murudeshwar. Known for its good dive sites, it is one of Karnataka's more popular recreational dive destinations. It is also a favourite fishing spot for fishers from the area.
At Netrani, the WCS-India marine team members, all of whom are trained biologists and experienced divers, collected data on the benthic and pelagic life at the island. Using random stratified transects, they gathered information on Netrani's pelagic fish, coral cover and species, and marine invertebrates. After five days of data collection, the team dived at a shipwreck near Bhatkal, up to a depth of 26 m below the sea surface, to get better accustomed to deeper dives.
WCS-India researchers exploring the ship wreck at Netrani. Picture Credit: Venkat Charloo
Having undergone this week-long training, the team is now better-equipped for all upcoming fieldwork- the biological surveys at Angria Bank later in 2019, and the coral monitoring at the Lakshadweep Islands in 2020.