This is our world, our ocean. These are our dive sites.
With Earth Day fast approaching, we’re reminded to protect our valuable natural resources – our ocean environments, house reefs, lakes and rivers – the places that we dive, the underwater playgrounds that we love. These are our dive sites, and they need protecting. Earth Day offers the perfect opportunity to take ownership of the dive sites we love.
If our past two decades of conservation have taught us anything, it’s that Project AWARE divers are true leaders in ocean protection! We’re a growing movement of marine activists numbering in millions across the globe, making a lasting positive impact for our ocean planet. And our work isn’t easy – it’s estimated that as much as 250 million metric tons of plastic could make its way into the ocean by 2025, damaging critical habitats and endangering marine life. But when it comes to the Ugly Journey of our Trash, the Project AWARE dive community is fighting back.
Despite their importance and value, sharks and rays are severely overexploited. Sharks fisheries remain woefully under regulated and overfishing, finning and bycatch continue to threaten the survival of the species. Thankfully, divers are some of sharks’ closest and most influential allies and we’re working together to keep sharks and rays populations healthy.
Australian scientists managing the Great Barrier Reef have lifted their emergency response to the highest level following the publication of video footage of damage caused by coral bleaching.
Authorities this month said that areas of the World Heritage site were experiencing the worst bleaching in 15 years, at least partially as a result of the current El Niño, one of the strongest in two decades.
Coral bleaching is a process by which coral expels living algae, causing it to calcify. Coral can only survive within a narrow band of ocean temperature.
“I have always felt at home near the sea. It’s not only my office, it’s also where I feel simultaneously most at peace and most terrified.” Though she’d never even thought about becoming a scuba diver until a friend invited her to travel to Egypt for an open water diving course, it was inevitable that Jo Roberts – a self-proclaimed ‘water baby’ – would build a life for herself grounded in ocean recreation and conservation.
Since age eight, Rachel Watts dreamed of learning to dive. There was just one problem… she didn’t know how to swim! Despite the obstacle that lay before her, Rachel added scuba diving to her ever-growing bucket list and continued dreaming about the day she’d take her first breath undersea. Rachel had always been interested in nature, frequently exploring rock pools at the beach during her childhood summer holidays and marvelling at the vast expanse of ocean before her. Her fascination and curiosity fuelled her ambition – she was determined that someday, she’d become scuba certified.
Today, World Wildlife Day, Project AWARE honors all scuba activists who, one dive at a time, are taking action to protect ocean wildlife from marine debris, the ocean’s silent killer. Started by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has threatened to introduce a law to ban microbeads, the tiny particles that are found in face scrubs and body washes, if companies do not adhere to a voluntary phase-out.
As state and federal ministers met for the roundtable on plastic bags in Sydney today, Mr Hunt said the government was taking a "stronger stance" on this "important environmental issue".
"We will continue to work with companies towards a voluntary phase-out of microbeads," Mr Hunt said in a statement.
You asked, we listened! In an effort to make Dive Against Debris™ easier and more accessible to divers of all different locations and nationalities, we’ve expanded our Dive Against Debris resources to include more than 12 different languages.
Divers across the globe can now remove, record and report debris in the language of their choice. As a diver with a natural affinity for ocean protection, you have the skills and knowledge to make a difference. Now, we want to arm you with the tools and resources to put your next Dive Against Debris into action.
Signatories to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Sharks have unanimously agreed to add twenty-two species of sharks and rays to the MoU scope, and to accept the applications of six conservation groups as Cooperating Partners in fulfilling MoU objectives. Conservationists are, in turn, calling on countries to take concrete national and international actions to fulfill new commitments to the imperiled species.
Scuba divers are used to descending great depths in the name of conservation, but how often do we look up? With a great love for the world below the sea, teenage ocean advocate Stephanie Wooley set her sights high above – she’d climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for ocean protection.
A group of experts from international conservation organizations is announcing a new strategy for combating the decline of sharks and closely related rays, while warning that the rays are even more threatened and less protected than the higher profile sharks.
The call for greater inclusion of rays in conservation action plans is part of "Global Priorities for Conserving Sharks and Rays: A 2015-2025 Strategy," released today in conjunction with a Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) meeting on shark conservation currently underway in San Jose, Costa Rica.
New Florida State University research appearing today in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal, challenges a 2007 study published in Scienceclaiming that shark declines led to rising populations of cownose rays, which were responsible for the collapse of oyster and shellfish industries along the Atlantic coast.
The new research is significant since the previous study led in part to the creation of fisheries and bow-fishing tournaments for cownose rays such as the “Save the Bay, Eat a Ray” campaign that could put ray populations in jeopardy.
Australia’s leading marine scientists are appealing to the federal government to reject a review expected to recommend a significant reduction in the size of ocean sanctuaries and an expansion of areas permitted for commercial fishing.