Dos and Don’ts

Asian Diver (English) - - Contents - By: Saman­tha Craven - The Reef-World Foun­da­tion

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.

IM­AGES: Ben Philips

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.

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