WHEN YOU START DIVING, UNDERSTANDING AND RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS
Becoming an environmentally friendly diver and knowing how to respect the aquatic environment can leave a positive impact, especially as scuba diving is becoming more popular all around the world.
Due to a lack of environmental education, many divers can actually have a negative impact on the underwater environment and the animals that call this environment home. Fortunately, there are many things which can reduce the problems when diving and we will discuss them in the following article.
Touching, bouncing, scraping or other physical contact can upset the delicate ecosystem that has built up, possibly over many years and can in turn cause long term damage. As a new diver it is important to practice and maintain good buoyancy control so you can avoid crashing into coral, sponges and other marine life.
We run an SSI Perfect Buoyancy course to teach you and help you to achieve the perfect diving form under various conditions. This will not only help save the environment, but turn you into a better and more efficient scuba diver.
Be aware of fin kicks as they can do a lot of damage to maring life if you are not totally aware of your position in the water column. If you feel something, stop and look behind you. It may help to take a stroke with your hands or rising slightly to move away from the obstacle.
Remember . . .
- An environmentally friendly diver has good buoyancy
- A diver with good buoyancy can avoid crashing into corals and marine life - Credit: JonMilnes
Many divers are now using gloves as a means of protecting their hands. However, with this, divers are also encouraged to touch the reef. This should still be avoided even with gloves as the physical impact can lead to ecological damage.
- Learn Where To Place Your Arms While Scuba Diving
Many people also find it interesting to collect souvenirs from their trip such as marine life, shells, etc. Even taking dead marine life is often illegal and should be avoided because it can leave grave ecological problems. Empty shells, especially those in good conditions often don't remain empty and provide essential shelter for a number of critters like Hermit crabs which rely on these empty shells for their survival.
By avoiding contact with marine species you can prevent pain or injury from toxic or poisonous wildlife and you can prevent damage to the eco systems.
- An environmentally friendly diver shuns touching marine life
- A diver touching a marine life leaves grave ecological problems - Credit: Rostislav Ageev
INTERACTIONS AND ETIQUETTE
The manner in which you dive can have the same impact on the marine species as deliberate or accidental touching.
Chasing marine species such as dolphins, whale sharks, jelly fish, and turtles can cause a great deal of stress and lead to the transmission of diseases or death. Let these animals come to you if they are curious enough and feel safe. Feeding the fish might seem like a fun way to lure them toward you but it also interrupts their natural nutrient balance which then disrupts healthy marine habitats. So many dive sites nowadays have a resident blue wrasse (often called a blue groper) that has been fed so often by divers that the response is almost aggressive if they are not fed.
Littering should be avoided at all times, especially plastic items. These are often consumed by marine life and are lethal.
Underwater photography seems like a fun idea but be cautious of the proximity to the species if you are using a flash underwater. This can often cause blindness or chase the marine life away from their nesting spots.
Human interaction may have a negative impact on marine species be it intentional or accidental - Credit: Krzysztof Odziomek