Have you ever thought there is more to your diving than just fun and pleasure? What if you could actually contribute to science, help protect endangered species, make our oceans clean again and help provide a better future for generations to come? Well I’m here to give you 5 ways that you could contribute to marine conservation on every dive!
Even though you might not be a scientist, you can gather a lot of valuable information while diving and help other organizations and universities learn about their research and plans for preserving coral reefs. As divers we spend a lot of time in the water, so why not record our observations as we swim?! By filling reports and sharing your knowledge we could have a bigger, and much more detailed picture of what is happening in our oceans around the world. To do so, you can log into www.reefcheck.org and become a member. On their website, they provide you with training and you can even order a tool kit to help you conduct your research! This could be a great learning experience for your kids and family as well!!
You could also ask around your region and search for local NGO’s or groups organized through your dive shop and help within your community. Another platform you can use is www.reefbase.org. In addition, another type of survey you can do, is through “The Reef Environmental Education Foundation” and help monitor fish numbers in specific sites. By doing so, help fisheries understand about what is going on underneath the waves. REEF is even doing an annual fish count dives. Jump on www.reef.org for more information and start making a difference!
Hunt & Collect
A lot of plastic, ocean debris from different vessels, and other trash is being blown out into the water, and could be found unfortunately on almost every dive. A small but big action we could take, is carrying a bag with you to collect anything you find, as long as it is not putting you or others in danger! Many countries are having these monthly or weekly clean-up dives where they take you out for free! So, this is a great way to have fun, save some money, get more experience as a diver, and do something good all at the same time!
We all love to take photos and most of us have a camera with us in the water, so why not put that into good use? We have a big advantage as recreational divers and that is TIME underwater with many hours in various dive sites around the world. Taking photos and videos is one of the most important tools in research and science. You could send your photos to specific organizations to help them create a data base of different animals and changes in coral reef systems around the world.
Here at Dive and More, we created a program called “Dive & Eco”, where we collaborate with local NGO’s and scientists in different destinations around the world, becoming part of their team and helping ongoing research. On our dive and photography trips, we can take photos in each environment we visit. This is a unique experience to interact with marine life in the best way possible!! This July we will head to Western Australia and Join Brad Norman from Ecocean to learn and interact the whale sharks of Ningaloo reef, and Frazer McGregor from Ningaloo Marine Interactions and join him to see and gather photos for his database about the giant mantas!
A camera is a powerful tool that can pass on a very strong message! Share your stories and footage with the rest of the world to let people know about our ocean’s economies. It’s worth nothing if it sits on your computer and dies slowly in some forgotten folder. Most people don’t dive, and so they have no idea about what lies beneath the surface. The media doesn’t talk about this subject much and the only thing left to do is to document as much as we can and spread the word!
Coral Planting and Restoration Projects
Coral reefs are home to about 25 percent of all known marine species and are used by countless other species at some point in their life cycle. They are also among the most biologically diverse and productive communities, often referred to as the rainforests of the sea.
Many communities around the world are almost completely dependent on the reef for food, protection and income. Unfortunately, with climate change the temperatures of our oceans are increasing and therefore our reefs suffer from it! One of the main conditions for corals to survive is steady water temp (21c-28c). Due to high water temp, in the summer of 2016 and 2017 we’ve experienced what we call a “Mass Bleaching event”. The corals are becoming sick and expel the algae that lives inside of them, providing them with 90% of their food source. As a result, they turn white and die.
With that being said, we could help the reef by restoring the damaged areas, plant corals and even grow “heat tolerant corals” in designated nurseries in reefs around the world!
There are various programs where you could join those teams and help plant corals back into the wild. Here are some examples:
Be A Role Model!
Be a role model. Setting an example to others is easy and that is all that takes to change people’s minds and follow your actions! We all have role models in our lives, and we all know how powerful they are to us. When you are out there follow the steps above, or come up with other ideas on how to protect the ocean. Talk about these important issues with your friends and family, social media and other platforms. The CHANGE comes from us! The more people we’ll have acting as ambassadors the more awareness it will create.
Check out the video below to see how you could reduce your plastic use today and help prevent plastic to get into our nature.
Marine Conservation Diving Trip
Are you interested in learning more about marine conservation? Join us on our Photo and Marine Conservation Trip in Western Australia. Not only will you get the chance to swim with some of the giants of the ocean, and experience the beautiful diversity of marine life under the surface, but you will learn about marine conservation along the way.