Conservation

Not Just a FAD: Saving the Reefs in the Seychelles Islands

A diver cuts lose a FAD tangled in the reef, Alphonse Atoll, Seychelles. Photo by Christian Burger.

Drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs) are threatening endangered marine species and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Marine conservationist Lucy Martin worked with the Island Conservation Society (ICS), a non-governmental organization in the Seychelles, on a large survey in 2015 to find out how big an issue FADs actually were.

Snorkelling with whale sharks is one of the most popular activities for tourist divers.
Snorkelling with whale sharks is one of the most popular activities for tourist divers.

Study shows value of shark tourism in Australia

A study has revealed that shark dive tourism in Australia contributes at least AUD$25.5 million annually to the country’s economy. These findings highlight the importance of proper management of shark species to support a sustainable dive tourism industry.

Focusing on four main shark viewing industries in Australia, the study was a collaboration between Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Flinders University, University of Western Australia, and Southern Cross University. It surveyed 711 tourist divers from May 2013 to June 2014.

Zena Holloway: Using Underwater Photography for a Greater Cause

Powerful images can help achieve a goal. Art can stir up emotions in people and emotions lead to action, leading to change. By conveying one strong message in a visually striking image, viewers may stop and think. They might decide to make real changes in their lives, affecting their friends and families—the message spreading outward, ultimately leading to a real and positive change all over the world. It all starts with a single image.

Ghost Fishing in the German North Sea

In May 2016, the dive team of the Dutch Ghost Fishing Foundation helped a German Greenpeace campaign, with the goal of drawing attention to the sizable problem of ghost nets in the North Sea. After almost two weeks of ideal weather conditions—with bizarrely bad visibility underwater—the deck of the Arctic Sunrise boasted five enormous BIG BAGs (the Swedish eco-friendly garbage bag brand) full of nets and fishing lines.

Project Baseline: Conserving through Citizen Science

Dr Todd Kincaid, Director of Project Baseline, collects sample from Hollywood sewage outfall, Florida, USA. Photo courtesy of GUE.

Project Baseline works by organizing and mobilizing a global network of highly skilled and passionate divers to create a lasting visual legacy of underwater environmental conditions one photo and one video at a time. Their images, descriptions, and data are moved into an online database designed to render their observations accessible to the world. Their images create a baseline for environmental quality.

Sea Cucumbers In Peril

Sea Cucumbers are a group of marine species belonging to the Class Holothuroidea. They are characterised by fleshy, elongated bodies, covered in numerous projections known as papillae. When disturbed, many species eject an effluvium of sticky, white threads designed to distract predators, and if removed from the marine environment, they quickly become foul smelling—not your ideal culinary ingredient, one might think.

Goliath Groupers

Goliath grouper, or Epinephelus itajara, are the subject of strong opinions and divided emotions. Divers love to see these mammoth fish; underwater hunters denounce them as competitors, or covet them as outsized trophies; fishermen are just itching for a policy change that allows harvest; and regulatory bodies seem constantly poised to rescind long-term protection in favor of short-term exploitation.