How Divers Can Conserve in Florida
Recreational diving either with SCUBA equipment or a simple snorkel and mask is widely available to Floridians and tourists both in fresh and saltwater. In a state as populous as Florida that also has so many tourists visiting to enjoy our resources, maintaining safe and sustainable diving opportunities must be a shared responsibility. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as well as numerous other government agencies at all levels, work hard to do there part. As a diver, we encourage you to abide by and encourage the following conservation considerations:
- "Take only photos, leave only bubbles." Never litter in or around the water. Plastics and other debris cause havoc with fish, marine mammals and reptiles, including causing life threatening entanglement problems, and causing them to eat indigestible or toxic materials. Not to mention that one of the main reasons for diving is to enjoy the serenity and beauty of nature--we can find plenty of trash top side. When possible help out by removing any trash you find.
- Never anchor on or over living coral, and never collect or touch it. The oils in your skin and simple contact with a flipper or glove can cause the delicate polyps that are the colonial animals forming coral structures to die.
- Don't approach or feed manatees, dolphins, whales, sea turtles or other air breathing animals. Wild animals should not be treated as pets and interfering with their daily routines can be disruptive and harmful.
- Please don't feed the fish; it destroys their natural feeding habits, and you might be injured by some of the larger predators like sharks and barracuda.
- Consult tide and navigation charts to ensure you have adequate clearance and avoid shallow waters that your boat motor will stir up.
- Don't power through rooted aquatic vegetation, it is a vital portion of our fisheries habitat. Be aware of your wake and it's impact along the shore, on other boaters and on man-made structures.
Some useful links:
- Consider joining a lake, river or coastal cleanup effort.
- Help with data collection on reefs by participating in a reef checkup.
- Coral Reef Alliance.