How do we protect coral reef? Learn from our experts in coral restoration and sustainable marine tourism how they’ve used scuba dive tourism as a tool for marine conservation. We have four great profiles of past Blue Ocean Summit speakers addressing this theme, each with unique experiences and an illuminating story to tell. Join our Network for support in creating coral reef restoration, citizen scientist, and voluntourism programs.
Update: Celebrating The Year of the Reef
During 2018 we are celebrating The International Year of The Reef. Over the next few months we will increase the frequency of our articles on the world’s coral reef ecosystems. We will include current news on the health of reefs and the worldwide efforts to maintain and restore them. In addition, we will republish a variety of our past, but still very pertinent and helpful articles on coral reefs. Our hope is that this effort will focus more attention on these very important issues. Share this article with #IYOR2018 and #SustainTheBlue to add to the worldwide conversation.
Activating Voluntourism in the Dive Industry – Ken Nedimyer
Part of Ken’s coral restoration program in the Florida Keys involves the training of hundreds of Citizen Scientists. Volunteer divers that have offered to help in Ken’s coral nurseries, to clean coral cuttings and transplant them onto reefs. Ken speaks glowingly of voluntourism:
“If somebody wants to have a one-afternoon voluntourism experience .. we can do that…. or if they want to have a week-long experience, we can do that… but the people that do it for a week, by the end of that week they’re never going to be the same.”
Ken believes that scuba divers today want more involvement than they get from a traditional vacation. They want to become an ocean activist, to have a more meaningful dive experience, and to contribute to and take care of their marine environment. The voluntourism that Ken’s Coral Restoration program offers can be that rich and fulfilling experience. “The people who go through our program are more aware, they become … more enlightened.”
To find out how you can volunteer for Ken’s Coral Restoration program read his article “Activating Voluntourism in the Dive Industry” at: Ocean Profiles: Ken Nedimyer
Local Response to Cruise-Ship Devastation – Lois Hatcher
An unfortunate circumstance put Lois Hatcher in the right place at a bad time. The Carnival Magic cruise ship, dragged its anchor across a coral reef off Grand Cayman Island where she works in a dive operation. The cruise ship did quite a bit of damage to the coral reef in August 2014, but Lois and her team of local volunteers got right to work. Since then they have been gradually rebuilding Magic Reef one dive at a time.
Shortly after, Grand Cayman Island faced another and possibly even worse threat: a proposal to build a huge, cruise ship dock across another coral reef that would effect some favorite diving and permanently alter Georgetown’s picturesque waterfront.
To learn the details surrounding the Carnival Magic cruise ship disaster and the work that Lois and her Citizen Scientists have devoted to restoring Grand Cayman’s coral reefs read “Local Response to Cruise-Ship Devastation” at: Ocean Profiles: Lois Hatcher
Cities Under the Sea – Richard Murphy
Dr. Richard “Murph” Murphy was asked to build a sustainable, dive travel eco-resort at a time when there were few models to look to for guidance. Murph’s background as a marine ecologist with an understanding of coral reefs came in handy. The relationships, within the reef community itself became a metaphor for the resort that Murph had to create on land. And to make sure that the operation of this Fiji Island Resort could proudly bear the Cousteau name.
“I believe a better understanding of how nature works can not only promote an appreciation for the value of our natural heritage but also help guide the next generation in living more sustainably on our planet.”
Learn more about Murph’s experiences establishing a sustainable marine tourism resort, read “Cities Under the Sea” at Ocean Profiles: Murphy
Dive Tourism, Poverty, and Reef Fish Decline – Judi Lowe
This statistic gives you some idea of the conflicts inherent in sharing marine resources between local communities and dive businesses. Judi Lowe continues:
“At least 275 million of those people depend directly on coral reefs and fish and marine resources for food, security and income.” and “dive tourism is located on those same incredible bio-diverse coral reef systems.”
Judi Lowe’s research as a Phd in Dive Tourism offers perspectives into these important ocean conflicts by taking coastal management models that include local fishing communities into the mix. Judi’s work is especially significant in third world dive destinations where conflicts can occur over limited yet essential marine resources. Judi is quite clear that poverty and pristine reefs don’t mix, however she is also clear that sustainable dive travel may help in finding a solution.
Find more of Judi’s thoughts on citizen science and sustainable dive tourism in “Dive Tourism, Poverty, and Reef Fish Decline” at Ocean Profiles: Judi Lowe.