Reducing diving’s impact on marine ecosystems
Spain has some of the most attractive marine landscapes in the Mediterranean. This means that diving has become an important tourist activity. This sport’s importance should be compatible with conservation of the species that make it attractive (some of which are endemic and/or in danger of extinction). It is vital to promote sustainability in diving practices.
To promote sustainability in diving practices, we have carried out several different projects, all with a shared objective: to reduce the impact of diving on marine ecosystems.
These projects are focused on three main activities:
1. Educational courses for diving guides and professionals.
These courses are mainly focused on the role the guide should fulfill (before, during and after diving), which must be explained in a complete eco-briefing (the explanation before diving), marine biology, impact of diving, etc. We plan this kind of course as a tool for diving professionals to help them to promote more respectful diving.
In 2018, we conducted 13 of these courses in different locations on the Costa Brava (Catalonia), reaching over 200 diving guides.
The courses were conducted for the Costa Brava Association of Diving Centers Costa Brava Sub, with funding from the European Union’s Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) through GALP Costa Brava and Departament d’Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca i Alimentació.
2. Information resources and an eco-label for sustainable diving centers.
We have drawn up good practices manuals for diving activities, as well as an eco-label to certify diving centers that foster sustainable activity.
“Wildsea Divers” is an example of this kind of project, which created both information resources and an eco-label. It was conducted in two marine protected areas (MPA) on the Spanish Mediterranean coast: Illes Medes (Catalonia) and Illes del Toro y Malgrats (Balearic Islands), reaching a total of 18 diving centers.
This project was supported by the Fundación Biodiversidad the Departament d’Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca i Alimentació and by the Obra Social La Caixa.
3. Studying the impact of diving activities by monitoring diver behavior, or how they use the space while diving.
Submon conducted this sort of study at the most-visited MPA on the Catalonian coast: Illes Medes. Here, different studies were conducted, funded by the Natural Park of Montgrí, les Illes Medes i el Baix Ter and the Departament d’Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca i Alimentació.