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As Divers, What Can We Do?


Divers, more than any other group, are acutely aware of the importance of environmental issues. And we should be concerned about the health of the marine ecosystem that we all cherish. But just being concerned is not enough. We should all be aware of the specific problems affecting the underwater environment and ask what we can do to help.

There are literally hundreds of organizations involved in trying to help assure that our underwater world can be enjoyed by future generations. And each plays an important role. If you have a specific issue or area of concern, you can find an organization to become involved with.

Most environmental organizations are non-profit and rely on contributions from companies and the general public. There are also many projects that we can take an active role in, whether counting fish, studying and reporting on reef conditions, promoting petitions for change or through financial support. It is just important that we act.

The list here are organizations concerned with the well being of our diving environments. Many welcome not only financial help, but volunteers as well. Visit their websites and review their projects and goals. Our underwater world is in need, lend a hand.

Environmental Organizations

Center for Marine Conservation

Membership organization whose goals include improving the quality of the marine environment and ensuring the health and survival of whales, dolphins, seals, and all marine wildlife for generations to come.

Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a member-supported, non-profit organization, dedicated to keeping coral reefs alive around the world.

National Marine Sanctuaries Program
Provides information about our nation's marine sanctuaries -- their history and current management and their scientific and educational programs. Discover a vast range of marine creatures, habitats, historical artifacts, and flourishing maritime cultures.

Ocean Futures
Ocean Futures is a non-profit organization resulting from a merger of the Jean-Michel-Cousteau Institute and the Free Willy Keiko Foundation. Their mission is to provide the global community with a forum for exploring issues affecting the ocean, its inhabitants, and its habitats. Ocean Futures reaches out to people throughout the world, helping them to understand our global water system, take personal responsibility for the restoration and preservation of precious marine habitats, and mobilizing them to protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

ReefKeeper International
Membership organization exclusively dedicated to the protection of coral reefs and
their marine life. ReefKeeper carries out its coral reef protection mission under a Florida Coral Reefs Initiative, U.S. Caribbean Coral Reefs Initiative (Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands), MesoAmerica Coral Reefs Initiative (Mexico, Belize & Honduras), and Netherlands Antilles Coral Reef Initiative (Caraway, Bonaire, Saba & St. Maarten). Each Initiative covers 6 Campaigns targeting Offshore Oil, Marine Pollution, Reef Fish Depletion, Marine Park Creation, Physical Impacts, and Coastal Development.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
REEF was founded in 1990, out of growing concern about the health of the marine environment, and the desire to provide the SCUBA diving community a way to contribute to the understanding and protection of marine populations. REEF achieves this goal primarily through its volunteer fish monitoring program, the REEF Fish Survey Project. Participants in the Project not only learn about the environment they are diving in, but they also produce valuable information. Scientists, marine park staff, and the general public use the data that are collected by REEF volunteers.

The Reef-World Foundation
Charitable organisation offering Coral Reef ecology courses for divers of all levels. Fees are used to fund local communtiy based coral reef education projects.

The Cousteau Society
The Cousteau Society is a membership-supported, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the quality of life for present and
future generations. More than forty books and 120 television films to date have documented farflung habitats: Antarctica, Haiti, Cuba, the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, the Andaman Islands, Borneo, Indonesia, Madagascar, South Africa, Lake Baikal and the Amazon, Mekong, Danube and Yellow rivers among others. Recent expeditions include the Caspian Sea and the St. Lawrence River of Canada.

The Nature Conservancy
Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been working with communities, businesses and people to protect more than 92 million acres around the world. The mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center
The Whale Shark Oceanic and Research Center is committed to the preservation of the coral reefs and surrounding waters of Utila.

A devoted staff of professional scientists, biologists and volunteers work tirelessly on maintaining and restoring a marine ecosystem that is one of Central Americas natural wonders.

Not only do we operate one of only a few year-round whale shark monitoring and research stations in the world, our facility houses a comprehensive reef fish and coral research division.

Together our mission is to educate the ecotourist and local alike while contributing cutting edge research to the scientific community and humanity for years to come.

We have an extensive range of PADI accredited and Distinctive classes exclusive to WSORC. Give us one day or 3 weeks and we guarantee an unparrallelled learing experience.

As Divers, What Can We Do?

- Learn more about reefs and other marine life. Your dives will be all the more enjoyable.

- Help keep the reef clean. Always take your own litter away, and also pick up other trash from the beach or reef.

- Get Involved with organizations and groups that are involved in the protection and conservation of coral reefs and other marine life. You can actively participate in projects or give financial support with a donation.

- Take care of the reefs, not just for yourself, but so your children too will be able to enjoy them.

A Diver's Code

- Don't touch corals, rest on them or kick them. Corals are living animals and are easily damaged even by gentle handling. Don't wear gloves, so you can feel what you are touching.

- Avoid kicking up the sand. It spoils the visibility for you and other visitors and damages corals and other reef organisms when it settles.

- Observe Collecting and Spearfishing Laws Many reefs are already badly depleted of medium to large size fishes. If laws are in effect for an area, it is because numbers are threatened.

- Leave all corals and reef animals where they are. Corals are the "building blocks" of the reef and grow slowly. Even small pieces are many years old. Lobsters and shells have become rare because too many people are taking them. Don't kill sea urchins to feed the fishes. Sea urchins too have become scarce, due to a disease, and are only just beginning to recover.

- Divers, make sure you are properly weighted. Sign up in a buoyancy control course and keep practicing what you have learned. Always be aware of the fragility of the coral reef.

- Boat owners, never anchor on corals, they are easily broken or damaged by anchors and you may break off corals that are hundreds of years old. Tie up to a mooring buoy or anchor carefully in sand or rubble patches.

--- Take only pictures, leave only bubbles.---


International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists
The International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists (IADRS) is a non-profit organization supporting public safety divers affiliated with law enforcement and fire rescue or SAR dive teams conducting search, rescue or underwater SCUBA recovery. Thousands of Public Safety Divers affiliated with law enforcement, fire
rescue, EMS or SAR SCUBA teams who conduct rescue or recovery operations are IADRS members.

Project Safe Diving
Interesting collection of information, resources and tools focusing on diver safety.



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