AWARE foundation aids BICREF’s marine biodiversity
Conserving local marine life depends on regular surveys and observations, side by side with careful identification and quantification of the species found around our coasts and in our seas. This important conservation assessment measure has been launched by the Biological Conservation Research Foundation (BICREF) in 2002 (EcoTourism Year) with the preparation of slates and forms distributed to interested SCUBA shops and schools.
This year BICREF received a sponsorship by the AWARE foundation to continue and increment this necessary measure. The fund allows for the production of more slates and forms which are distributed to SCUBA schools, so as to increase the involvement of both local and visiting divers and snorklers.
Project Aware, which stands for Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education, was first founded in 1989 by PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, as a means of stressing the diver’s role in conserving the underwater environment.
In a changing environment it is essential to be able to monitor distributions and presence of previously recorded and unrecorded species found in our waters. These indications can then be studied further by BICREF members and University students under the supervision of Dr. A. Vella (Conservation Biologist).
Such monitoring and observations have in the past already produced interesting and relevant conservation information, such as the recording of locally unrecorded or rare species, the decline of typical species usually found in certain areas, and the presence of dead fish in large numbers. The ongoing record keeping and data analyses are also considered side by side with human activities around our coasts and offshore in our territorial and “conservation zone”.
The successful collaboration of BICREF, the Conservation Biology Research Group at the University, SCUBA divers, fishermen and sea-users is allowing an excellent exchange of experiences, observation and knowledge that are at the core of conservation science and practice – A beautiful example of how specialists and the general public can work together.