Divers, guides, policy makers, dive shop owners, boat captains, and everybody else living in this area really, if you depend on the reef, pay attention to it
I wish we had the culture of looking after our environment, particularly when it gives us a living. The Riviera Maya fully depends on tourism. It is the top destination in Latin America, and many of those millions of tourists come here to dive or snorkel in the beautiful reefs from the Caribbean. Looking after the tourist is not enough, looking after the environment and key ecosystems (reefs, mangrove, seagrass meadows) is just as important. So, divers, guides, policy makers, dive shop owners, boat captains, and everybody else living in this area really, if you depend on the reef, pay attention to it.
As divers, we have the amazing opportunity to see an entire world underwater. We divers have a tremendous effect on marine life, but -sadly- due to the lack of environmental education, many divers have a negative impact on the marine environment. There are many habits that can reduce the problems caused when diving and snorkeling, check www.greenfins.net/en/best-dive-practices. For example:
- Avoid contact, and do not step on coral: If you touch the coral or any other marine animal, you upset the balance and one kick can eliminate what took hundreds of years to get built.
- Do not stir sediment: This sediment damages coral and reduces its capacity to survive. Control your buoyancy; if you can’t control it yet, then dive a meter above corals and sand.
- Harassing wildlife: Touching and chasing wildlife causes stress and leads to transmission of diseases.
- Do not collect souvenirs: all species and their remains when dead have a role in the ecosystem, take pictures and no more.
- Trash: avoid plastic, recycle, and do throw trash and cigarette butts in the trash can.
There so many dive shops in the Riviera Maya. Some give biology courses that cover important topics related to the environment you will be diving in. As a diver and biologist, I encourage guides to be aware of their environment and look for better training. I recommend you, as a tourist, check the environmental practices before booking your dive, and chose those who actually care