A researcher’s perspective by Christine Ward-Paige
As a scuba diver and marine biologist, my research uses scuba divers observations from around the world as a non-destructive way of gathering information on shark and ray populations (www.eShark.org). Recently, we assessed the value of such observations for analyzing trends in shark abundance and distribution.
September’s Debris Month of Action was a month chock full of underwater cleanup and data reporting activity. To date, more than 130 committed AWARE leaders reported data from the underwater trash they found last month. In total, data was reported from 160 Dive Against Debris surveys held at 90 locations around the world.
It’s the only pirate ship discovered in the Caribbean and it’s the site of Dive Against Debris this Saturday, September 17th. The Captain Kidd's 1699 Quedagh Merchant shipwreck located offshore Isla Catalina in the Dominican Republic continues to see its share of marine debris. The constant flow of our trash from the nearby river threatens this irreplaceable historical and biological treasure that rests among an endangered Elkhorn coral habitat.
Australia has the world's third largest marine territory and a rich diversity of marine habitats from the tropical coral reefs of the north, through temperate sponge gardens and vast seagrass beds to the chilly southern waters of the Great Australian Bight.
It’s been 21 years since Project AWARE first began. The world of scuba diving was much different then. And so were the ways of conservation. We were still learning about the issues and educating ourselves on sustainable practices underwater.
As the AWARE mission, logo and strategies have evolved over the years, so have the environmental priorities of the world. And together, we step up our efforts for the ocean wherever they’re needed most. Now, we’re prioritizing shark protection and working to eliminate marine debris from the world’s ocean.