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Dive Fest Barbados 2018 seeks to put the focus on protecting coral reefs

Now in its second year, the celebration of Dive Fest Barbados 2018 seeks to raise awareness about the protection of the Caribbean island's reefs. The upcoming event to be celebrated next month wants to sing the praises of Barbados' excellent diving sites whilst at the same time highlighting the challenges it faces in order to preserve a healthy fish and coral population.

Dive Fest Barbados 2018 seeks to put the focus on protecting coral reefs

From 4th to 8th July, Barbados will celebrate its second Dive Festival, and this year’s edition will put the focus on the preservation of the island’s coral reefs and on improving conditions to sustain the fish and sea turtle population in order to reverse its downward trend.

The call to action that asks for more efforts being put into the conservation of the island’s waters, comes from Andre Miller, a representative from Barbados Dive Operator Association, who recently told an audience at UMI Restaurant in Sugar Bay, Hastings that 99 percent of the island’s coral reef is suffering from overfishing. In his address, he spoke of scuba diving as a recreational sport being a driving force to take further measures to protect sea life:

“We [want] the world to know that Barbados is open for diving and we [want] to show the issues that we have to deal with."

After explaining the imminent danger that coral systems were in and the immense challenge of protecting them from overfishing, Miller added:

“All of us need healthy beaches [and] all of our healthy beaches need a healthy fish population. We can’t have one without the other and healthy fish need a healthy coral reef. Barbados is the only true coral island in the Southern Caribbean and we need to stand up and shout this. We need to protect it.”

Speaking about the upcoming Dive Festival 2018 next month, Miller said it had earned international recognition in record time, with members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) attending this year’s event.

“PADI normally takes a decade before coming to national events. We got PADI in Barbados in year two. Take a bow. Certainly, we are doing something right.”

Turning his attention to the dwindling population of sea turtles, Miller highlighted the unique value each live turtle had and the financial rewards that could derive from them, stating that just one single turtle was valued at $1.7 million.

To improve the living conditions and natural habitat of sea turtles, Miller said that during the celebration of Barbados’ Dive FEst 2018 they would put a portion of the funds obtained from their crazy boat race towards their sea turtle project.

Rudy Grant, Chief Executive of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association took the opportunity to highlight how the annual celebration of Dive Fest provided fantastic educational opportunities for kids, both visitors and locals.

A great excuse for a summer Barbados holiday, Dive Fest kicks off early next month at 6 p.m.with a Conservation and Screening Open at Copacabana in Bay Street. For more details on the festival’s full programme, you can check the event’s official web page - divefestbarbados.com

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