Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Abstract

In recent years, coral reefs in the southeastern Florida region have suffered from increasing threats, both natural and anthropogenic (e.g. Fleshier 2006; Jordan et al. 2010). The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) was formed to help organize efforts to increase reef conservation and protection. The SEFCRI region encompasses four counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin. It is made up of four focus teams, which are responsible for addressing major issues and threats to the following areas of concerns: Awareness and Appreciation, Fishing, Diving, and Other Uses, Land-Based Sources of Pollution and Water Quality and Maritime Industry and Coastal Construction Impacts (Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative 2005). The focus groups have developed local action strategies (LAS) for their areas of concerns (United States Coral Reef Task Force 2011). This internship report describes and discusses the SEFCRI survey of dive operations in southeast Florida. For this study dive operations were defined as a combination of dive shops, dive charters, dive clubs and dive NGOs (non-governmental organizations). A survey by email and telephone was conducted to assess if dive operations were aware of, and/or conducting, monitoring surveys in the SEFCRI region. A survey of 74 dive operations produced 40 successful responses (54%) by telephone and 4 responses (5%) by email. Of the 74 dive operations, 15 operations (20%) conducted some form of habitat survey while SCUBA diving, and 21 operations (28%) were interested in learning about conducting surveys. The majority of dive operations’ clientele were Caucasian and male. The dive operations that responded were in business/existence for an average of 20 years, and they all stated that natural reef sites represented the majority of their bottom usage. The operations that conducted surveys stated that the most commonly used methodologies were the roving diver fish survey method and the BohnsackBannerot fish survey method. Outside organizations, such as NGO’s, were integral in assisting with the survey efforts of many of the dive operations that were aware of /or conducted surveys. This created a limitation in the study, because most dive operations were only in possession of data from surveys at the time it was collected (i.e. from the organization conducting the survey). Thus, relevant data were not analyzed in this study. Future efforts, and the expansion of this project, should focus on further communication with the 15 dive operations that are aware of, or conducting, surveys and identify their data collection plans/schedules, as well as assist them with the development of new survey methodologies.

Comments

Department: MBF

MPS Track: TME

Location: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

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