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Curaçao key for Shark Conservation

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Top Dive Destination Prepares to Host Community and Policy Action for Sharks

The small Dutch Caribbean nation of Curaçao is poised to play a huge part in the future survival of endangered shark species in 2019, with the island due to host both the Annual Curaçao International Dive Festival as well as the 26th annual meeting of ICCAT, the international fishery management body responsible for overseeing commercial fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean.

As part of the Festival, September 29 – October 5, 2019, Project AWARE®, the international non-profit organization working to create positive change for the ocean through local and global action, will be launching a newly revised shark conservation course for the diving community.

Project AWARE partners in Curaçao currently participate in ongoing Dive Against Debris® surveys, where dive operators across the country record and report critical data on marine debris found on the seabed to ensure the health of the country’s marine habitats, and this year they will also be focusing on some of the most vulnerable species in the ocean, sharks.

“This year, Curaçao could potentially play a huge effort in reducing unsustainable fishing on endangered shark species, especially Mako sharks, the fastest shark in the ocean,” said Ian Campbell, Project AWARE’s Associate Director of Policy and Campaigns. “In October, we’ll be launching our newly revised AWARE Shark Specialty for the diving community which will include lots of information on the main threats facing many shark species, but also what divers and the wider community of ocean lovers can do to be part of the solution, including taking part in Project AWARE’s citizen science initiatives.”

The Curaçao International Dive Festival is a huge event that brings together like-minded ocean lovers for a week of festivities focused on protecting the ocean, and then, a few weeks later, government representatives from fifty-two countries will meet here to discuss fishing quotas for Atlantic tuna and other species including Mako sharks.” Bryan Horne, Creator and Founder of the Dive Curacao Network. The ministers making these decisions are all public servants, and we want to ensure that they hear, loud and clear, the message that the Curaçao community and international dive community want them to hear.

ICCAT, the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, is responsible for managing tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding areas, and the annual meeting will be held in Curaçao between the 18th – 25th November.

Campbell added “ICCAT fishery managers have continued to neglect their responsibility to manage catches of Mako sharks, with the Atlantic populations recently being downgraded to “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It’s time they started listening to the public and impose a ban on catching these species before it’s too late.

Tadzio Bervoets, former Chair of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and project lead for the Dutch Caribbean Save our Sharks Project echoed Horne and Campbell’s statements  mentioning the importance of protecting sharks on Curacao and the Caribbean Region as a whole; “The Caribbean Sea in general is a biodiversity hotspot for sharks in the Atlantic Basin. During our research initiatives we have tagged sharks with satellite transmitters in the North Eastern that have migrated all the way south to the Northern Coast of Venezuela. This research shows that the species using the whole Caribbean basin as a migratory pathway, highlighting the importance for regional conservation for some of the most threatened apex predators in the ocean.”

“Therefore all conservation practitioners look forward to the ICCAT meeting as well as participating in the Curacao International Dive Festival working both on increasing regional and international conservation measures of the species while simultaneously engaging the diving community to lobby for the protection of these species which are so critically important for the Caribbean Sea and wider Atlantic Basin,” mentioned Bervoets.

For more information about Project Aware visit their website by clicking here.

Gear News

Fourth Element announce Tech Fins inspired by whale tail

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A classic vented dive fin, engineered by nature and redesigned to maximise performance.

Fourth Element’s new Tech Fins have taken inspiration from nature and evolution to optimise efficiency. The turbulence disruptors on the top of the blade work in the same way as the nodules of the leading edge of a humpback whale fin, which disrupt the water as they move through it. The resulting turbulence enables the whale to swim with more efficiency. Fourth Element has adopted this evolutionary concept to improve the performance of this classic fin.

Utilising natural rubber in a unique density gradient, the dive fin delivers an ultra- comfortable foot pocket combined with optimised stiffness for finning performance.

The vented design allows water to flow along the blade reducing drag and fatigue, whilst the stiffening rails and ribs ensure that the blade of the fin is driven through the water to maximise the return on effort.

The Tech Fins, with a slightly negative buoyancy characteristic, were developed with technical divers in mind but are suitable for all levels of diver looking for a high-performance rubber fin. The wider blade gives manoeuvrability without compromising the power, while the shorter length improves agility and makes stowing the fins for transport more convenient. Spring straps with comfortable heel pads keep the feet securely held in place. These straps can be removed and changed easily with everyday tools if required.

The Tech Fins are supplied with a hanging/carrying strap and a marine quality bolt snap which may be used to attach them to a bcd or harness for carrying, leaving both hands free for climbing ladders or carrying other gear.

The natural rubber material of this fin is extremely durable, and all components are recyclable at end of life.

The Tech Fins are available in M, L, XL and XXL. These fins will fit sizes 4 (US5) to 14 (US15) and come in Black, Grey or Aqua.

Features

  • Natural rubber heel strap
  • Stainless steel spring strap
  • Soft foot pocket
  • Hydro-flow vents
  • Turbulence disruptors
  • Strengthening ribs
  • Stiffening lateral rails

Find out more here.

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Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide

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This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture. 

Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.

If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.

Belize Discovered

Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.

Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin. 

You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 13 days

Price from: £2,945 per person

Belize Liveaboard

Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.

Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 10 days

Price from: £3,475 per person

Guatemala & Belize

Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.

After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 14 days

Price from: £3,495 per person


If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.

All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.

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Competitions

A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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