Sustainability in diving
Diving is one of the most popular and fascinating holiday activities. To dive deep into another world, float weightlessly through the water, and admire the colorful corals and diverse species – spectacular! The presence of human beings can have negative side effects on the fragile eco system – negligence of divers and diving boats can damage the coral reefs and disturb the species. How can those impacts on the marine world be minimized?
In order to find out, we asked Bettina Winert, an experienced diver, how sustainability and diving can be combined. Bettina is founder of the diving blog Der Taucherblog, where she describes her diving and travel experiences. She is a passionate photographer, under and over water. Next to own articles, guest blog articles are featured regularly. In the following, Betting describes for Green Pearls®, how she spends her diving holiday in a sustainable way.
What is the meaning of sustainability in diving?
Sustainable tourism is often seen as a counter-model for mass tourism and has developed constantly in the past years. The responsible handling of natural resources, the desire to experience nature as close as possible and a respectful approach to the culture of the host country constitute the pillars for sustainable tourism. Also when it comes to diving and diving holidays, a responsible dealing with natural resources becomes more and more important. But what exactly does that mean exactly for diving holidays? How can divers put the key principles into practice? Below, I have put together a list, how I try to spend my diving trips in a sustainable and responsible way.
Quality instead of quantity
Nowadays, diving trips are cheap to get. Many destinations attract visitors with dumping prices, the providers fight a ruthless price war. I travel less often, but stay longer at a destination, in order to see the most with one flight. Instead of diving at crowded reefs, I prefer extraordinary dives at less frequented places.
I prefer to stay at little, local and familial hotels. Large resorts can suppress local providers, often interfere with the eco system and take the opportunity from locals to significantly earn from tourism. Even in countries like Egypt, where you can hardly escape mass tourism, there are little, familiar Eco Dive Camps available, such as the Red Sea Diving Safari. For me, this is a successful example for the connection of diving and environmental protection.
The diving center
The choice of the diving center should not only be based on the price. I chose a diving base that is involved in local environmental projects and contribute to research and protection of the sea. Once again, instead of international providers, I give priority to local diving centers to enable profits for the local community. I avoid diving centers that search for dolphins and whale sharks while racing over the water with speed boats. Also furthermore avoid providers that feed the fishes and diving centers that offer spearfishing and deep-sea fishing. When I see things I don’t like during my vacation, I address the providers directly.
Behaviour under and at the water
The rules are easy:
- Do not touch anything
- Do not take anything with you
- Do not throw anything into the water
- Balance and tare
- Pay attention to the lap of your fins to not damage anything
- Do not scramble with other divers around an object
- Do not chase living beings, blind them with torch lights or scare them
Practice, Practice, Practice
In order to act correctly, cautiously and foresighted under water, I regularly practice in domestic lakes. The best protection agains damaged corals is the perfect taring and balance of divers.
Behavior on shore
I try to keep away from tourist hotspots, instead I travel individually. I use my network to find local connections and experience the country from a local point of view. A dinner with Egyptian or Indonesian friends gives me so much more insight into a country than a roundtrip by bus. I get involved with the local culture, show respect for the customs and traditions, and try to completely dive into the travel destination.