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Conservation

Blue Island Divers promotes a healthy respect for the oceans of the world, we have dived in many of them around the world and as we are lucky enough to see the wonders of the undersea world on a daily basis. We want to ensure that the beauty remains for future generations to see.

Blue Island Divers prides itself in assuming the responsibility of being a "Guardian of our Oceans" and we are committed to doing everything we can to preserve this precious resource.

Blue Island Divers is deeply involved with the reef conservation efforts here in the Caribbean. Several of our professional staff members have been certified, by the Ocean Conservancy's organization to conduct surveys coral reefs. Blue Island Divers will also be hosting REEF, and Project Aware dives. To find out more about how you can help find out what is happening to our coral reefs see the REEF, and Project Aware information below and contact Blue Island Divers.

Blue Island Divers work to disable abandoned traps.

Blue Island Divers wins Environmental Achievement Award

Blue Island Divers has again been awarded the prestigious Project Aware Environmental Achievement Award for 2006. We are very proud of our environmental achievements.

We are committed to continuing our conservation efforts and are pleased to announce that our Conservation training program is developing well. Below is information on the training steps that we are offering to help protect our underwater environment. What a great way to make your next diving vacation make a difference. You can start with some of the more basic environmental education courses with Project Aware and Reef and then progress on to full blown reef surveys.

The beauty of the program is that everyone can get involved and make a difference. If you are interested in becoming part of the rapidly growing body of Concerned Ocean Protectors (C.O.P) there is no better way to start your conservation contribution, than with these education programs.

"The Environment Achievement Award is about rewarding vision, excellence and pursuit of conservation. More importantly, this award ensures the enjoyment of underwater environments for future generations."-Dr. Drew Richardson, Chairman, Project AWARE Foundation
See the PADI AWARE conservation specialty courses HERE

REEF Reef Environmental Education Foundation

Blue Island Divers is a REEF field station and we are able to offer another level of direct involvement for the interested Concerned Ocean Protector you can become part of the volunteer fish monitoring program, the REEF Fish Survey Project. Participants in the Project not only learn about the environment they are diving in, but they also produce valuable information. Scientists, marine park staff, and the general public use the data that are collected by REEF volunteers.

The first step is to sign up and become a surveying member, you will receive an ID number and a fish identification pack, you will dive with a REEF Conservation Instructor who will guide you through the identification and recording techniques. Then you can track your personal survey data and generate your life list of fish sightings online at the REEF website. This course can be combined with the Project Aware Fish ID course as the content is very similar.

Your data input after the course on subsequent dives will be very useful to researchers and scientists in the future study and protection of our Oceans.

What is the REEF Fish Survey Project?
REEF's mission, to educate and enlist divers in the conservation of marine habitats, is accomplished primarily through its Fish Survey Project. The Project was developed in 1990 with support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and guidance by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The REEF Fish Survey Project allows volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations. The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's Website. These data are used by a variety of resource agencies and researchers.
Long admired for their spectacular beauty and extraordinary biodiversity, coral reefs are among Earth's most biologically productive, commercially valuable, and ecologically fragile ecosystems. Today, human activities threaten many of our best-known reefs and most popular dive sites.

Excessive dumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, for which North Americans must accept a disproportionate responsibility, is generally considered the single greatest human contributor to global warming. El Niño events are naturally occurring phenomena, but their impacts are being amplified as our oceans warm. The unusually severe El Niño of 1997-98 caused massive bleaching and subsequent die-offs of stony corals in such relatively uninhabited and undeveloped areas as the Maldives (Indian Ocean), Palau (Pacific Ocean) and southwestern Belize (Caribbean Sea).Global warming, combined with overgrazing, may have accelerated desertification in Africa, thus increasing the release of dust particles that are naturally transported to tropical America via the trade winds. Included in the dust particles are the spores of bacteria and fungi that are capable of causing diseases in reef organisms.

Recent declines in our oceans' "health" due to land-based pollution, over-fishing, destructive fishing practices - such as the example in the photo, right, with abandoned fish traps, and other human-induced damages have made it even more necessary for divers to advocate for our oceans. As a diver you see first hand that many coral reefs have been heavily affected by human activities. However, the status of coral reefs at a number of sites popular with recreational divers is poorly understood.Tropical deforestation is the second-largest source of carbon dioxide released by humans and also results in greatly increased rates of soil erosion. Some of this soil enters the ocean near coastal coral reefs. Poorly planned or poorly executed development projects also suspend massive amounts of sediment into waters along tropical and subtropical coastlines. Stony corals and other sedentary reef animals suffocate and die when exposed to excessive sedimentation.Excessive harvesting of marine organisms (for food, curios, aquariums, etc.) disrupts the intricate web of ecological relationships that sustains stony corals. The use of explosives or other destructive fishing practices can devastate entire reef ecosystems.

Reef condition information

The Ocean Conservancy's four strategic priorities reflect the critical ocean conservation issues that will be the main focus of our efforts. Although we recognize that climate change will have significant impact on the ocean—including possible regime changes, rising sea levels, and accelerated coral bleaching—many other organizations are engaged in understanding and addressing climate change. We believe that we can make the most tangible contribution to ocean health by building on our historic accomplishments, strengths, and expertise.

What can you do?

You can play an active part in the conservation of our marine environment its easy to do and it makes your diving more rewarding by knowing that your efforts are directly contributing to the health and conservation of our oceans.

Most scientists agree that the health of our oceans is one of the biggest environmental concerns for the planet, every bit of information that we can harvest is gong to be important to the future health of the whole planet.

Sign up for one of our conservation courses and help us to preserve the beautiful marine habitat that only we as divers can interface with personally.

Abandoned Fish Traps
on the SS Grainton

On July 26, 2002 Blue Island Divers joined forces with Ocean Adventure Videos to spearhead a collaborative effort to reduce the number of abandoned traps in local dive waters. Team members represented the following organizations: Department of Ports and Natural Resources, Coral World Marine Park Employees, University of the Virgin Islands and The Ocean Conservancy.

The day's goal was to render 20 abandoned traps inoperable, releasing trapped fish, one of which was a fully grown porcupine fish which had clearly spent all it's life in the trap. The goal was to open as many of the traps as possible, located on the SS Grainton's port-side in 110 feet of water, and eliminating the possibility of these abandoned traps reducing the already limited fish stock of local waters. All 20 traps were successfully made inoperable.

The team departing Crown Bay Marina. DPNR support boat out of view

Thank you to the following team members.
Blue Island Divers: Aimee Gillis, Linda Beck, Wendy Dodds, Harrison Liddle and Sean Mckenna.

Coral World: Deirdre Whitworth-Smith, Jay Reynolds, Leukemia Mounce and David Hayes, Elizabeth Bradford, Michael Holt.

Department of Ports and Natural Resources: Director Lucia Francis and Officers Jackson, Powel and Christopher.

Ocean Adventure Videos: Christy Loomis and Jim Wilkinson.

Ocean Conservancy: Nicholas Drayton.