Dos and Don’ts
Diving on coral reefs is one of the most established of marine tourism activities, but those of us who have been initiated into the world of “muck” know that a dive in Southeast Asia over sand or mud can be as delightful and biologically diverse as any reef dive out there. We roll our eyes at statements from newbie divers like, “It’s just sand. What is there to see?” We know better. In fact, over 100,000 of us visit muck dive sites in the Coral Triangle and spend up to US$150 million each year. That is a substantial industry built on “just sand”.
The numbers reflect the truth – that the sand itself is a habitat, an ecosystem, that should be treated with the same respect as the coral reefs they are often adjacent to. Being a responsible diver means minimising the stress we’re putting on the creatures and ecosystems that we’re visiting and therefore giving them the best chance to survive.
Here are some tips and tricks provided by the UN Environment’s Green Fins initiative for making sure that we are protecting these weird and wonderful critters on our next dive trip.
TOP LEFT: Diver with camera, TOP RIGHT: FrogfishIMAGES: The Reef-World FoundationABOVE LEFT: Frogfish eggs, ABOVE RIGHT: Bobtail squid The Reef-World Foundation is the international coordinator of the UN Environment initiative Green Fins, working to protect reefs by driving sustainability in the marine tourism sector. To find out more, please visit www.greenfins.net. For more information on research being done into the muck diving industry, habitat and critters by Maarten De Brauwer please seewww.crittersresearch.com.