Scuba Destinations and Marine Protected Areas
National Marine Parks and Coral Reefs
In the modern world, few marine locations offer healthy reefs without some form of organised protection. We are passionate about conserving these treasures for many future generations, so in this section we highlight the good work that is being done to protect the marine environments in our recommend diving vacation destinations.
Why are Coral Reefs Important?
Coral reefs are an essential element of the marine ecosystem and are under threat, primarily from climate change and unsustainable fishing methods. They support the web of underwater life and their destruction means disaster for populations of fish as well as the humans that depend on them.
Insufficient food, the collapse of the lucrative tourist industry (increasing poverty) and land erosion are some of the consequences for local human societies.
What Can be Done to Safeguard Coral Reefs?
Creating protected areas and national marine parks shows how local communities can get involved and benefit from preserving their marine resources. Governmental bodies need to be involved to ensure long-term planning and enforcement of protective policies. With strong government, NGO support and willing local participation, these areas really can flourish and provide sustainable, continuing returns for the oceans as well as local people.
The Benefits that Accrue from Marine Reserves
The creation of marine protected areas is bearing fruit. Reefs are recovering, alternative livelihoods are being forged by locals once involved in destructive fishing practices, and tourism income is being ensured on a longer term basis in dive destinations that seemed destined for a quick and permanent decline. Education of local populations and their children is creating more informed and in-touch coastal communities who understand and respect the fragility of their environment.
Recreational diving vacations can go hand-in-hand with conservation efforts. Divers taking a vacation at these destinations bring in revenue which is used to further fund preservation programmes, help with clean-ups of beaches and waters, provide for the rehabilitation of reefs and mangrove plantations, implement patrols of the region and help with the enforcement of poaching bans.
Dive The World hopes you will find these reports enlightening and we encourage you to support marine protected areas by visiting them on a regular basis and getting involved where you can. Your tourist dollars are essential to the local economies you visit. If you dive conscientiously and with sensitivity, and contribute to the local community by paying a conservation fee, then your dive vacation has been wholly positive and you are playing a vital role in ensuring the well-being of the scuba destination.
Australian Marine Parks
Costa Rica's Marine Management Areas
Ecuador's Marine Management Areas
Indonesian Marine Reserves
Malaysian Marine Protected Areas
Red Sea's Coral Reefs
Thailand's Marine National Parks
For more information on coral reefs, read our enlightening newsletter articles: