Diving for Knowledge: Scuba Divers, Fishers, and Coral Reefs

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 09:15
, Brittany - Allegheny College

As tourism replaces fishing as the dominant economic activity in coastal destinations, researchers will need to consider how this changes human interaction with the marine environment. The snorkelers, divers, sport fishers, and sunbathers arriving as tourists access and use the marine environment in different ways, with varying consequences for environmental management. Focusing on how scuba divers use, understand, and come to know the coral reefs on which they regularly dive--and how this differs from fishers--illuminates the value of understanding human activities across scales. The special access diving equipment grants scuba divers to coral reefs, which can also result in their harm. This paper addresses the need to consider scuba diving and other tourism-related activities alongside fishing and traditional livelihood activities to develop a more complete understanding of human interactions with the marine environment. Ultimately, this understanding can foster better environmental management.