493,047 and counting. That’s how many pieces of rubbish have been reported and removed from our ocean since 2011 through Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program. The weight of these items when combined is equal to that of over 3000 people*.
As we approach the half a million mark, we catch up with AWARE’s Program Specialist, Hannah Pragnell-Raasch to discover a little bit more about what the Dive Against Debris data tells us so far.
Close your eyes and imagine your idyllic scuba diving location. Most might envision sandy white beaches, palm trees blowing in the breeze, and a small dive boat anchored offshore in calm turquoise waters – right?
For over two decades divers have tackled the marine debris problem. From the olden days of an annual beach and underwater cleanup event to today's action - regular and comprehensive Dive Against Debris surveys reporting the quantities and types of marine debris items found underwater - we've stepped up our game and massively scaled up how we can help protect marine life from deadly ocean trash.
Large quantities of plastic debris are building up in the Mediterranean Sea, say scientists. A survey found around one thousand tonnes of plastic floating on the surface, mainly fragments of bottles, bags and wrappings.
The Mediterranean Sea's biological richness and economic importance means plastic pollution is particularly hazardous, say Spanish researchers.
Plastic has been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles and whales.
After many consecutive Sunday beach cleanups and Dive Against Debris surveys, Hin Wong beach and local dive sites in Koh Tao, Thailand are looking better than ever! The once trash-littered bay front has been restored to its natural beauty thanks to dedicated Project AWARE supporter and dive leader, Nicky Russell.
This year will be a very special Earth Day as it marks the 45th anniversary of the worldwide event, held on April 22 each year. Under the global theme “It’s Our Turn to Lead”, Project AWARE supporters are showing their support for environmental protection by taking on amazing challenges to help us lead the fight against marine debris and protect imperilled shark and ray species.
Divers are passionate ambassadors for ocean protection who never miss an opportunity to show their dedication and commitment to ocean conservation.
The NOAA Marine Debris Program, in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, published a report today that assesses the current state of science on “ghost fishing” and the derelict fishing gear that causes it.
New research led by researchers at the University of Victoria raises serious concerns about the ability of marine protected areas (MPAs) to effectively protect wide-ranging iconic species, such as sharks and rays.
The study, published today in Conservation Biology, investigated 21 years of recordings of shark and ray sightings at Cocos Island, a UNESCO heritage site and marine protected area off Costa Rica.
Britain said it intended to create what will be the world's biggest fully-protected marine reserve, covering an area nearly the size of France and Germany put together in the Pacific Ocean.
The reserve will be based around the remote Pitcairn Islands archipelago, a British overseas territory that is inhabited by descendants of the sailors who staged a famous mutiny on the Bounty ship in 1789.
"The government intends to proceed with designation of a MPA (Marine Protected Area) around Pitcairn," read the budget unveiled by finance minister George Osborne in parliament.
What a busy start to the year! From Paris to Dubai, 100% AWARE partners from around the world have joined us at busy dive shows in Europe and the Middle East to meet like-minded divers. Exhibiting at Dive Shows gives Project AWARE and its partners a unique opportunity to rally support from the dive community to take action locally and globally to protect the ocean and its wildlife.
After many months of uncertainty, the College of Commissioners quietly approved the 2015 work programme, including the withdrawal of the Circular Economy package, otherwise known as the Waste Target Reform proposal.
The world has lost an ocean hero and inspirational women who dedicated her life to shark research, science and conservation. Dr. Eugenie Clark, a pioneering marine biologist, also known as the “Shark Lady”, passed away on 25 February 2015 at age 92.
The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) clarified it will not grant authorisation to export hammerhead shark fins until the non-detriment removal ruling (DNP) is issued, an instrument that is expected to be completed within six months.
"There will be no export permits until the DNP is ready," stated Julio Jurado, SINAC director, in response to the fact that the Sea Turtle Recovery Programme (PRETOMA) questioned the permit granted to export 239 kilograms of common hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) and smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) fins.
On 3rd March, people everywhere will celebrate World Wildlife Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. For scuba divers like you it’s an opportunity to recognise the value of marine life and remind ourselves of our responsibility to protect it.
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.
"Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater," says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
"If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic," Dr Hoogenboom says.