The influence of scuba divers’ experience on their underwater behaviour in marine ecosystem

Ahmad Puad, Mat Som and Khairul Amri, Hasim (2019) The influence of scuba divers’ experience on their underwater behaviour in marine ecosystem. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 27 (3). pp. 174-178. ISSN 1990-9233

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Responsible tourism has become an established area of tourism research and practice. Although it shares much in common with ‘sustainable tourism’, ‘eco-tourism’, ‘ethical tourism’ and other related forms of socially conscious tourism practice, the label of ‘responsible tourism’ is by far the most favoured industry term. While dive tourism enjoys continued growth worldwide, concern exists that it is contributing to the degradation of coral communities, biologically and aesthetically. In this research, we investigated the rate of divers' contacts and physical damage by observing divers' underwater behavior in Tioman Island, Malaysia and tested the effectiveness of pre-dive briefing as a mitigation measure of divers. By observing thirty divers, only few divers contacted the live coral cover and caused skeletal breakage. The average contact frequency of the divers during diving trips was approximately 45 minutes. The study found that divers were highly responsible during underwater diving. The contact frequency of the divers decreased significantly after they listened to an environmental briefing among divers who could maintain neutral buoyancy, as opposed to those who could not do so. This study suggests that buoyancy control training for divers may also be important for coral reef conservation in addition to environmental education. Diver-induced damage decreases with increasing number of logged dives and attendance at pre-dive briefings. Marine Park managers can help reduce impact by identifying and directing use to sites that are resistant to damage, matching diver competence and site preferences and alerting operators to dive conditions. Minimizing impact requires dive master and dive operators to be proactive in promoting low impact diving behaviour. This includes selecting sites that match divers’ expectation and experience and providing pre-dive briefings in the context of divers’ activities and physical capacity and site susceptibility to impact and current strength. In response, the study suggests a new paradigm for the management of reef-based SCUBA dive tourism integrating the management and governance frameworks of the management strategy and multi-stakeholder approach.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Scuba diver, Underwater behaviour, Responsible tourism, Marine environment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Fatin Safura
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2022 04:52
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2022 04:52

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