[Coral-List] Vietnam bans scuba diving to protect a coral reef

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 8 14:21:11 UTC 2022

That’s a shame Julian. I know you and Green Fins have worked hard on raising awareness and I just assumed that divers there have responded to your message. From what I have observed (mainly throughout the Caribbean) divers have improved significantly in their environmental awareness. I have often criticized the US scuba diving industry for dragging their feet on environmental issues (especially the impacts of climate change), but resorts and divemasters here have stepped it up and are generally doing a good job keeping divers off the corals. We still have a long way to go in developing truly sustainable dive tourism models, but it is encouraging to see more resorts, instructors and divemasters getting more and more involved in efforts designed to protect coral reefs.

I can only tell you this, the source of my consternation when considering impacts of my dive groups is not broken corals, but our inescapable contributions to coastal development, water quality issues, over-fishing and of course, carbon emissions.

Keep up the good work and thanks for your feedback,


On 7/7/22, 9:39 PM, Julian @ Reef Check <julian at reefcheck.org.my> wrote:


It depends on a number of factors. One diver on one reef? Not much damage.

500 divers on one reef over a busy weekend? You are going to see some

damage. Throw in students, first time night dives...

The Green Fins programme, of which Reef Check Malaysia is the coordinator

for Malaysia, is a code of conduct for dive (and snorkel) operators. Its

code of conduct requires operators to implement programmes to reduce their

impacts - small things like changing to a more environmentally friendly

bleach up to changing to 4-stroke engines. An annual assessment ensures

continual improvements.

Our data for the last few years show:

- over the last couple of years, reef health around Malaysia has shown a

slight improvement. Could it be because there have been no tourists for the

last two years?

- in one island in particular there is some evidence of a longer term

improvement (over 3-4 years perhaps); on that island we have an active

programme to encourage tourism operators to reduce impacts (Green Fins,

Green Hotels standards). More important - we have a team of local islanders

(now 65 strong) helping with programmes such as crown of thorns control,

ghost net removal, mooring buoy maintenance, some small scale restoration

and a few other things.

These programmes are helping to reduce tourism-related impacts, as well as

other human impacts (ghost nets, CoTs), not to mention getting local

community participating. There's plenty of research on the science of reefs

and impacts; I'd love to see some more research from the tourism-perspective

- for example, to support limiting numbers of tourists allowed to access a

particular dive site.


Julian Hyde

General Manager

Reef Check Malaysia

T: +60 3 2161 5948 W: www.reefcheck.org.my

-----Original Message-----

From: Coral-List [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf

Of Steve Mussman via Coral-List

Sent: Thursday, 7 July, 2022 07:32

To: coral list

Subject: SPAM R2: [Coral-List] Vietnam bans scuba diving to protect a coral


In my opinion, scuba diving does little direct harm to coral reefs. On the

other hand, divers, like all tourists, most certainly contribute to the

overall problem. I say this with mixed emotions while preparing my dive gear

for an upcoming trip to my favorite reef after a prolonged hiatus.






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