Easy Ac­cess

Dive Against De­bris vol­un­teers tar­get one of Gre­nada’s prime dive sites

Sport Diver - - Dive Briefs - BY ALEXA WARD, COM­MU­NITY RE­LA­TIONS SPE­CIAL­IST, PROJECT AWARE FOUN­DA­TION

No group has greater po­ten­tial to in­flu­ence pos­i­tive change for our ocean planet than scuba divers. Project AWARE’S global vol­un­teer net­work proves this time and again. Through Project AWARE’S Adopt a Dive Site ini­tia­tive, more than 220 dive sites have been adopted so far, with more than 1,500 par­tic­i­pants across the globe com­mit­ting to monthly Dive Against De­bris sur­veys to pro­tect un­der­wa­ter ar­eas from ma­rine de­bris. And their ef­forts don’t stop there. Whether elim­i­nat­ing sin­gle-use plas­tic prod­ucts from their dive busi­nesses, in­tro­duc­ing com­post­ing and worm bins to dive shops, or launch­ing ed­u­ca­tional work­shops to in­crease aware­ness among lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, these ocean stew­ards will stop at noth­ing to keep our ocean clean and healthy. Through­out 2017, we’re high­light­ing the in­cred­i­ble in­di­vid­u­als who make our work pos­si­ble.

A pas­sion for ma­rine en­vi­ron­ments led Chris­tine Fin­ney to scuba div­ing. Grow­ing up on the At­lantic coast in Canada, she was mes­mer­ized by the ocean’s ris­ing and fall­ing tides, small crea­tures in its tide pools, and mag­nif­i­cent wildlife. Since child­hood, she’s worn a whale tail pen­dant neck­lace given to her by her ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist fa­ther to re­mind her of their shared pas­sion. To­day, Fin­ney works along­side him as a ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist, and as a scuba in­struc­tor at Eco Dive in Gre­nada.

Fa­vorite dive site?

Our dive shop is lo­cated right in the mid­dle of Grand Anse Beach, with a great big sea-grass bed at our fin­ger­tips. Due to its beach­front ac­cess, it is of­ten sub­ject to ocean trash from coastal de­vel­op­ment and tourist traf­fic. For us, our work with Adopt a Dive Site is in­valu­able — clean­ing up our front door makes div­ing more ac­ces­si­ble to the public, and by mak­ing our ef­forts vis­i­ble, more guests be­come ed­u­cated and then take ac­tion on their own to clean the ocean.

Why does the Grand Anse Beach shore- dive site need to be pro­tected?

Sea-grass beds are ar­eas of­ten over­looked by divers, but they’re great places to find crit­ters and are in­valu­able nurs­ery habi­tats and seabed- sta­bi­liz­ing root sys­tems. Be­cause Grand Anse is the most vis­i­ble por­tion of the coast — to lo­cals, boaters and the non­div­ing public alike — we can use our ef­forts to ex­pose the prob­lem of ma­rine-de­bris pol­lu­tion here as well as raise aware­ness and en­cour­age ac­tion for con­ser­va­tion. We aim to en­cour­age re­duced an­chor­ing by demon­strat­ing what great ma­rine life ex­ists in this habi­tat and ex­pose the is­sue of ma­rine de­bris. We’ve re­cently sub­mit­ted a pro­posal for the Grand Anse Ma­rine Pro­tected Area Plan, and will con­tinue to do all that we can to sup­port and en­cour­age ma­rine park es­tab­lish­ment.

Strangest piece of ma­rine trash found?

Sta­pler.

Chris­tine Fin­ney Grand Anse Beach, Gre­nada Scuba diver since: 2003

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