Dive Community Comes Together for Coral Restoration Workshop

Situated near Bali in Indonesia are a group of islands growing in popularity. Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are just a short boat ride away from Bali and are fast becoming known as an amazing diving destination.

With growing popularity however, there also comes an impact on the environment. To combat this impact members of this dive community are extremely proactive in ocean conservation. Regular environmental events, clean ups, Dive Against Debris, seminars and education based dive training are a regular occurrence. Most businesses have initiated waste management programs and are actively aiming to reduce diver impacts through environmental briefings for guests.

Workshop Group Photo

Recently Andrew Taylor, biologist and certified restoration practitioner from Blue Corner Marine Research invited this dive community to get together in an effort to begin coral restoration in an important area used regularly by divers.

Andrew initiated a pilot project to determine the restoration method best suited to the specific environmental conditions in the area. He then recommended the best restoration method for the chosen site on Nusa Penida, which was to conduct a two step physical and biological restoration effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Divers installing the frames

First the team physically stabilized the rubble substrate using modular reef structures or coral frames. By installing these structures a framework is provided to minimize erosion and create patch reefs. Suitable hard coral species are then transplanted upon the structures to establish patch reefs which in time, will expand across the rubble area.

Andrew explains the workshop below:

“The workshop ran as an intensive 2 day event for professional local divers of the Nusa Islands in Bali. The first day involved classroom training on coral reef ecology and restoration techniques, followed by an afternoon of working dives. On the second day structures and coral transplants were inspected and documented for what will be an ongoing monitoring project. The workshop was offered free of charge to the local community in an effort to get all the dive instructors, divemasters and dive centres involved in protecting and restoring the reef. During the workshop 50 coral frames were installed at the restoration site! Funding for reef structures and operational logistics of the workshop were made possible with diver donations, assistance from several dive shops on the Nusa Islands, fundraising events at Blue Corner Bar, and generous donations from community partners”.

workshop i

This restoration effort is the start of what will be an ongoing restoration program in the Nusa Islands.  The event was attended and supported by 25 Dive Professionals and volunteers from 6 PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. Additionally, the event was supported by the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Coral Triangle Center, Lembongan Marine Association, Komunitas Penyelam Lembongan and the Ministry of Marine Affairs, Bali Province (DKP).

Logistics were arranged through Blue Corner Dive and the project had the backing of PADI & Project AWARE.

PADI Regional Managers get to experience some great conservation initiatives all around their region. If you are undertaking conservation initiatives through your PADI Dive Shop, contact your PADI Regional Manager to discuss ideas, implementation and support.

4 Tips for Hosting AWARE Week Activities

Written by Tara Bradley

In celebration of AWARE Week, a co-branded PADI® and Project AWARE® initiative aimed at empowering more divers to look after the underwater world, PADI dive operators and shops around the world will join together in a global movement for ocean protection by running conservation-minded events and activities from 15-23 September.

Whether it’s becoming a debris activist, saying no to single-use plastics or making responsible seafood choices, no action is too small to protect and preserve our ocean planet. AWARE Week provides you with the tools and inspiration to encourage positive actions for the health of fragile underwater environments, fins on and fins off.

Interested in planning an AWARE Week event in your area? Here are some ways to get ready and bring together your student divers, friends and family to act for change in your local community.

  1. Get ready to teach Project AWARE specialty courses: If you’re not a Dive Against Debris® or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty Instructor, apply for your rating today. One hundred percent (that’s right, 100%!) of your application fee is donated to Project AWARE. Not a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor yet? No worries, PADI Divemasters can apply to teach the newly revised Project AWARE Specialty course after taking a Project AWARE Specialty Instructor Training course from a PADI Course Director.
  2. Mark your calendar and start promoting your AWARE Week activities:
    Download AWARE Week social banners to spread the word. Create a Facebook event and use the #AWAREWeek hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to encourage participation and join the online conversation.
  3. Make your dives count and help clean the ocean: If you want to make your dives count for ocean protection during AWARE Week, conduct Dive Against Debris surveys. Download your Dive Against Debris survey toolkit, which includes the must-have materials you need to successfully plan and conduct a survey dive including tips to choose your survey site.
  4. Display the AWARE Week video in your local shop and gather interest for the Project AWARE specialty courses: Dive Against Debris Specialty, AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty, and the newly revised Project AWARE Specialty. Ask people visiting your dive shop to leave their contact details if they’re interested in taking part in AWARE Week. Closer to the date, send them an invitation to sign up for a Project AWARE specialty course during AWARE Week or to any other event you may organize, a club night, a fundraising challenge – you decide.

Whatever you do during AWARE Week, make it fun and make it count for ocean conservation. If your students complete a course during AWARE Week, make sure they receive the PADI limited edition card supporting Project AWARE’s conservation work, and use this opportunity to celebrate the beauty and wonders of the ocean!

From kids to seniors, non-divers to pros, we can all make a difference in our global community. Join the AWARE Week celebrations!

For more info or to download the AWARE Week Toolkit for help hosting an event in your area, visit the newly launched AWARE Week website.

You CAN Make A Difference

Blog post by PADI Regional Manager, Neil Richards

Introduced in November of 2016, PADI’s Four Pillar of Change corporate social responsibility program, is in full swing throughout Thailand. With some big goals in mind, we want to use this program as a platform to protect our ocean planet and introduce more people to it – we need your help! Get involved now and “Be a Force for Good”!

Ocean Health

PADI members in Bangkok, Koh Tao and Krabi recently hosted Jack Fishman, Project AWARE’s Community Conservation Officer (yes that’s his real name and it’s quite fitting). We hope you were able to attend one of his multiple lectures on Marine Debris or jumped on a boat to conduct a Dive Against Debris together.

Take Action

Conduct the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris® specialty with your students and remember to credit the dive towards the Advanced Open Water course. The materials are free to download for both Instructor and student as well, and the Instructor fees (if you haven’t applied already) are donated directly to Project AWARE. The data received from this dive is collated and used by Project AWARE to encourage policy change.

People & Community

PADI is actively reaching out to schools across Asia Pacific in an effort to create the next generation of ocean enthusiasts. We have designed presentations to be delivered in the local schools, which focus on marine life and conservation. Where possible, we will even offer a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience to pique their interest and introduce them to breathing underwater.

Take Action

Conduct similar activities with schools, clubs and activity centres. Remember the youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Encourage further education focusing on buoyancy skills and Project AWARE specialties.

Other opportunities to build a sense of community are participating in PADI Women’s Dive Day or getting involved with local causes.

Healing & Wellness

PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive, but the new Adaptive Techniques and Adaptive Support Diver courses build upon PADI’s long history of working with divers with disabilities. PADI field service staff in will soon be hosting experts across different regions who can help increase awareness of differing abilities and how to apply adaptive techniques that cater to them.

Take Action

Once you have the Instructor level consider offering workshops to your own staff and Instructor colleagues. If you do know of any divers with disabilities ask them for tips about how they were able to overcome challenges. Think about how you can make changes to your store to accommodate a wider audience.

Marine Animals

Similar to the “Ocean Health” pillar with respect to our actions, PADI and Project AWARE have been offering workshops about Shark and Ray Tourism. If you were unable to attend a live version, please watch this space for webinars with similar discussion topics.

Take Action

Conduct the AWARE Shark Conservation specialty with your students and remember to credit the dive towards the Advanced Open Water course. This is a great opportunity to engage with divers, creating awareness of the plight of some of nature’s most majestic creatures. Remember the student and Instructor materials are free of charge and the Instructor application fees go straight to Project AWARE.

Also, keep an eye on the Project AWARE Social Channels and participate in petitions and surveys that they share. These go a long way towards informing worldwide policy change.

If we all join forces we can and will make a difference. If we don’t do something, who will?

 

 

Super Divers Dive Against Debris

Photos supplied by Super Divers

On Monday 6 March 2017, PADI 5-Star Dive Center, Super Divers arranged a Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris® aboard MV Freedom Dolphin.  The day started with the leader of the project, PADI Elite Instructor Jon Walsh briefing the guests on board about the importance of keeping our oceans clear of rubbish and sharing some of the quite astonishing facts about the amount of debris that ends up in our oceans every year.

The cleanup was entirely volunteers and it was impressive to see that more than 40 volunteers took part to raise awareness and remove debris from the ocean.

The best part was that Super Divers found there was actually very little debris to be collected.

“It’s testament to the great job all those who visit dive sites around Phuket do in collecting anything that shouldn’t be in the sea,” said Walsh.

“The small amount we did recover will now be broken down by type of debris and the amount and dive site at which it was found will be registered with Project AWARE.”

As is the case too often, plastic and fishing line were the main culprits of the day – but every piece that is removed from our oceans helps.

Congratulations to the entire team at Super Divers and to all the volunteers involved.

For more information about Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris campaign, visit the website.