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Session7 04 Ashton Williams

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Presentation made at the Sustainable Tourism in Small Island Developing States conference, 23-24 November 2017, Seychelles. A partnership of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation, IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group, University of Seychelles, Paris Tourism Sorbonne (IREST), and Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

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Session7 04 Ashton Williams

  1. 1. ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE REDUCING DIVER IMPACTS ON GUAM’S CORAL REEFS WITH A CORAL-SAFE DIVING REMINDER Ashton Williams & Dr. Laurie Raymundo University of Guam Marine Laboratory
  2. 2. Population: 160,000 Size: 544 km2 Annual Visitors: 1.4 million Resident divers: 30,000 Visitor divers: 140,000 GUAMGUAM 170,000How can we reduce the impacts of divers on Guam’s coral reefs?
  3. 3. How do divers damage coral? • Kick and bump corals • Sit and stand on corals • Grab corals • Kick up sand/sediment clouds • Intentionally damage corals • Use sunscreens with chemicals that harm corals
  4. 4. Why do divers damage coral? • Failure to streamline • Too close to reef • Poor buoyancy control • Distractions • Ignorance How can we reduce the impacts of divers on Guam’s coral reefs? What if we reminded divers to practice “coral-safe diving” before each dive?
  5. 5. Watch your buoyancy, and be careful to avoid touching, bumping, or kicking the corals!
  6. 6. “Watch your buoyancy, and be careful not to touch, kick, or step on the corals!” Photo: Mike Schuck 5-minute observation • Substrate touched • Body part used • Intention • Damage • Camera & glove use • Buoyancy control Questionnaire • Demographic data • Socio-economic data • Diving experience and training • Diving-related beliefs and opinions
  7. 7. Finding #1: “Coral-safe diving reminder” works! 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 4,5 5 Reminder No Reminder Reminder No Reminder #ofContacts Accidental Contacts Intentional Contacts Mean contacts per 5-minute observation period p=1.10E-13 p=1.17E-13 • Kruskal-Wallis • Highly significant differences Simple, easy, cost-free tool to reduce diver impacts on coral reefs!
  8. 8. Finding #2: Cameras & gloves = more reef contact • Kruskal-Wallis • Significant differences Divers with gloves and cameras should be supervised more carefully. 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 4,5 5 Camera No Camera Gloves No Gloves Camera No Camera Gloves No Gloves #ofcontacts Accidental Contacts Intentional Contacts Mean contacts per 5-minute observation period
  9. 9. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 DSLR GoPro Point & Shoot DSLR GoPro Point & Shoot #ofcontacts Accidental Contacts Intentional Contacts Mean contacts per 5-minute observation period Finding #2: Cameras & gloves = more reef contact • Kruskal-Wallis • Significant differences Divers with gloves and cameras should be supervised more carefully. p=0.003 p=0.003 p=0.002p=0.0004 p=0.01 p=0.0002
  10. 10. 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 4,5 5 Guam Visitor Guam Visitor #ofcontacts Accidental Contacts Intentional Contacts Mean contacts per 5-minute observation period • Kruskal-Wallis • Significant differences for accidental contacts, but not for intentional Finding #3: Visitors have more reef contact • Mann-Whitney • Significant differences for both intentional and accidental contacts Visiting divers should be supervised more carefully than resident divers. p=4.95E-05 p>0.05p=5.19E-06 p=0.013 …but not all equally.
  11. 11. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Asia North America Guam Asia North America Guam #ofcontacts Accidental Contacts Intentional Contacts Mean contacts per 5-minute observation period • Kruskal-Wallis • Significant differences for accidental contacts, but not for intentional Finding #3: Visitors have more reef contact • Mann-Whitney • Significant differences for both intentional and accidental contacts Visiting divers should be supervised more carefully than resident divers.p=4.95E-05 p>0.05p=5.19E-06 p=0.013 …but not all equally.
  12. 12. Additional findings • Briefing before 1st dive reduces contact on both dives • Divers with poor buoyancy control make more accidental contacts • Groups of 5 or more divers have more individual contacts • Positive correlation between guide & client contacts • Number of lifetime dives > certification level • Divers are generally self-aware of skill level and buoyancy control • Most divers want to know more about coral reefs
  13. 13. Takeaways & Implications • Reminding divers to practice coral- friendly diving can reduce diver impacts on coral reefs • Some divers should be supervised more carefully to reduce their impacts • Diving professionals are willing to help • Voluntary effort > regulations/laws • Green Fins materials • Divers want to learn—let’s help dive operators teach them!
  14. 14. Thank you & si yu'os ma’åse! • Dr. Laurie Raymundo • UOG Marine Laboratory • Micronesian Diver Association • Guam Visitors Bureau • NOAA

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