Freediving and coral reef rehabilitation: greater community outreach, increased sustainability.
Rehabilitating coral reefs via scuba diving is a viable option, but it is not the only one. As such, we at Ocean Quest Global are working towards including freediving, so that the members of the local communities can be fully involved in the process as well.
Coral reefs are traditionally monitored and rehabilitated by those with the financial capacity to do so (the costs of scuba certification and equipment amounts to several months of average income in many countries across the world.). Such efforts also tend to be occasionally inhibited by the operational issues presented by scuba diving equipment, particularly in remote or non-tourist areas.
The importance of healthy coral reefs to their surrounding communities cannot be understated, they not only provide them with food and revenue (through fisheries and tourism), but also stave off coastal erosion, thereby safeguarding land property from damage and reducing the risk of population displacement.
We want the processes of coral reef protection and rehabilitation to be more welcoming of the local communities, many of whose members have a long tradition of breath-hold diving activities.
Therefore, we are been developing and are now finalizing a new and specific method of coral reef rehabilitation in freediving to this purpose.
A specific education in coral reef rehabilitation is slated to commence in early 2019. The objective over time is to set up protection and rehabilitation campaigns with local communities that would become fully self-regulating within a reasonable period after launch.
NB: many thanks are due to the Apnea Total Freediving Organization, its instructors and master students for their assistance and availability in advising us on how to adapt our methodology and techniques to freediving.
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