There are over seven billion people in the world and with an ever-increasing number of them reaching for a pair of fins each year, we need to make sure our impact on the underwater world is as minimal as humanly possible. Consider the fact that we’re not even meant to be there – we don’t belong in the marine ecosystem and our ability to see all of these wonderful things is simply through technology. Sustainable diving practices are essential as our oceans survive through a finely tuned ecosystem and in order for it to function, we need to ensure we don’t disrupt it in any way.
1. Perfect your buoyancy
Your control underwater is essential, watch your fins and keep your distance. Stirring up sediment is not only bad for the visibility, it also moves and destroys delicate and essential organisms.
2. Keep your hands to yourself
The harmful oils in our skin can damage fragile corals and make animals more susceptible to infection as we destroy the protective film that covers them. This means you shouldn’t touch anything and even dead coral plays an important role in the ecosystem.
It’s also important to not feed the fish as it effects the balance of the ecosystem. If repeated, the fish become reliant and why hunt when food is fed to you? This then affects feeding patterns and other species below the fish on the food chain.
3. Don’t eat the fish
If we want to continue to see fish when diving, then we need to stop eating them. With seven billion people and counting, our human demand for fish is so high and ever-increasing that we are fishing to the extent that species are not able to reproduce fast enough. Making reproduction even more difficult is commercial fishing; trawlers (fishing nets) are dragged along the bottom of the seabed, catching not only the fish they are looking to sell, but anything else in it’s path including reefs and entire ecosystems. If we decrease the demand for fish, we decrease the destruction to our beautiful oceans.
4. Reef clean ups
Eco days are sometimes held by dive schools and involve inspecting your local dive sites and removing any rubbish that has settled there. Want to go a step further? Reduce the rubbish you produce so less of it ends up in the sea in the first place. Use fewer disposable items, carry a water bottle, take a tote to the supermarket and leave the plastic bags at the store. It’s these little everyday habits that can help reduce the unnecessary and ginormous amounts of waste we produce every year that inevitably affect our oceans.
Are you a Scuba professional? Here are a few tips…
– Include sustainability guidelines in your dive briefings, explain why it’s so important that we preserve our oceans and make it clear that touching will not be tolerated.
– Speak with a passion and hopefully your love of the oceans and preserving them will translate into more eco-friendly divers who go on to dive elsewhere and share their knowledge.
Anything to add? Share the love and let us all know in the comments!