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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Scuba Diving Our Way to a Blue Planet

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Ocean

Written by Marissa McBride

From underwater mountains larger than any on land, to tropical reefs home to thousands of species, the ocean holds unparalleled beauty. Marine protected areas (MPAs) safeguard life in the sea by managing human visitation and consumption. While some types of MPAs have strict protections and are no-go areas, others allow non-consumptive use such as SCUBA diving, an activity enjoyed by over 24 million people worldwide. With healthy waters teeming with life, MPAs are enormously beneficial for the SCUBA diving industry. Given this connected relationship, the dive industry has the opportunity to participate in ocean conservation by educating tourists about the importance of MPAs, as well as best practices while diving in these special places.

Bridging Knowledge Gaps

Many tourists explore the underwater world with little knowledge of their potential impact on the surrounding ecosystem. For example, many divers apply non-“coral safe” sunscreen prior to diving which contains ingredients that are very harmful to coral reefs. Another poorly known fact is that coral is significantly impacted by human touch,  because its delicate membrane can be pierced so easily. The dive industry has the unique opportunity to educate divers about these facts, among others, and improve their understanding about how to be stewards of our oceans.

Ocean

Dive students put their knowledge about marine conservation to work on a beginner dive.

Ocean Stewards

Many diving companies are dedicated to helping steward our oceans and aid protection efforts with informative blogs as well as programs like PADI’s Project AWARE and specialty course about coral reef conservation. Reefcheck and many other citizen science programs provide valuable data on the health and trends of reefs around the world. This dedication is greatly appreciated by Marine Conservation Institute and other conservation organizations. With the expansion of programs like these in dive companies around the world, the ocean will be safeguarded and respected for generations to come.

Returning the Favor

The dive industry benefits from the dedication and hard work of many marine conservation organizations that work to establish MPAs. Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to protecting wild ocean places and has created the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES), an initiative in which strong and well-managed MPAs worldwide receive Gold, Silver or Bronze Global Ocean Refuge status based on their regulations, management and enforcement. As the world’s best MPAs, Global Ocean Refuges will likely be home to abundant marine life. A strong partnership with the dive industry is a goal of the initiative, and we expect to see an increase in tourism at the awarded sites. With this increase in tourism comes an opportunity to educate more people about marine conservation.

The Future of a Blue Planet 

The ocean provides sustenance and protein for large numbers of people, oxygen for every other breath we take and sequesters excess heat and carbon dioxide, thereby regulating our climate. The ocean needs citizen engagement and ocean stewards so that the marine life and the dive tourism industry can continue to prosper.

To find out more about Marine Conservation Institute visit www.marine-conservation.org.

Marine Life & Conservation

White Shark Interest Group Podcast #007 – with ROB LAWRENCE

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Seventh in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 7 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s’ largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Ricardo and Dirk speaking with the White Shark pioneer Rob Lawrence – the man who practically put False Bay, South Africa on the map for White Shark breaching behaviour.

If you have ever seen an image from South Africa of a white shark breaching from the water, be it on Airjaws, Nat Geo, BBC, Shark Week, or any photographs online and in books, you have Rob Lawrence to thank. He has worked behind the scenes with all those film crews and photographers to get them to where those sharks are, on a regular basis.

With his highly successful company African Shark Eco-Charters he has worked with hundreds of thousands of people to visit and dive with Great Whites and see the natural predation behaviour that False Bay is famous for. He has, without a doubt, been to Seal Island, False Bay, more than ANY other human being alive! He is here to share his experiences and knowledge – including the much talked about topic of where the White Sharks may have gone in the last couple of years.

This is a MUST LISTEN podcast and a rare chance to spend an hour in the company of a true pioneer and advocate in the shark world.

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:


Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/whitesharkinterestgroup/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiteshark_interestgroup/

Website: www.whitesharkinterestgroup.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Reef Rescue Network launches new interactive map

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The Reef Rescue Network (RRN) was established in 2017 by the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) as a network of non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses committed to improving the condition of coral reefs by restoring populations of corals and other species that will build coral reef resilience. Since then the RRN has grown to include nearly 30 coral restoration sites in partnership with 25 local partners from 9 islands within The Bahamas as well as Aruba and St. Lucia. Through this partnership between coral reef scientist’s local conservation and education organizations and private businesses in the dive industry, the RRN is making significant advances in restoring coral and building reef resilience.

Visitors and locals can now immerse themselves in coral restoration activities at a partner location within the Reef Rescue Network. The network has coral nurseries that offer coral restoration experiences throughout The Bahamas, Aruba & St. Lucia. PIMS has developed a PADI Reef Rescue Diver Specialty Course that dive shops throughout the Reef Rescue Network are teaching. To participate, you must be a certified open water diver and at least 12 years old. The course takes one day and consists of knowledge development and two open water dives at a coral nursery.

You can learn how to assist with maintaining the nursery and get a hands-on experience or you can just scuba or snorkel the coral nursery as a fun dive to just observe and enjoy the nursery and marine life that it attracts. Another option is to scuba or snorkel one of the many restoration sites to view the corals that have been outplanted and witness for yourselves this habitat restoration and the marine life it has welcomed.

To find out more about the Reef Rescue Network, watch this video:

To visit the new Reef Rescue Network Interactive Map click here.

To learn more about the Reef Rescue Network visit their website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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