2019 Curaçao International Dive Festival Supports Sustainable Tourism and Ocean Conservation Initiatives

The 2019 Annual Curacao International Dive Festival is focused on building an atmosphere that will both educate and foster the enjoyment of sharing underwater experiences. This Festival will also highlight what Curaçao has to offer as a world class scuba diving and vacation destination while underlining the importance of supporting key on island sustainable tourism and ocean conservation initiatives.   

Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao

Since the launch in 2015, the Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao (CRF Curaçao) has successfully now out-planted over 6,000 corals at 7 popular dive sites along Curaçao’s southeastern coastline.

Additionally, the Foundation’s Board has “branched out” and expanded the nurseries at the Ocean Encounters house reef located at LionsDive Beach Resort Curaçao, added a nursery at the Avila Beach Hotel and enlisted Atlantis Diving Curaçao and Scubaçao as a new CRF Curaçao affiliate members. By doing so, the Foundation’s Board is confident that they can provide triple the number of coral fragments available to be out planted back onto Curaçao’s fringing reefs.

CRF Curaçao is dedicated to their mission statement which is “to bring back the shallow-water populations of staghorn and elkhorn corals in Curaçao, which would not only help mitigate the possible effects of climate change but also rejuvenate reef fisheries and biodiversity, as well as help the scuba diving tourism sector.”

“The significance of this Curaçao Coral Reef Restoration Program is that together as a community here on Curaçao, we are restoring our shallow water reef system while educating our youth about the importance of protecting and preserving our natural ecosystem,” according to Pol Bosch, CRF Curacao, who adds: “I believe programs like this help solidify a natural sustainability for future generations.”

Local Divers Unite to Protect Curacao’s Reefs

Plastic pollution is affecting the oceans across the world, and some reports estimate that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Marine life like fish, birds and sea turtles can mistake plastic for food and eventually starve or become entangled and suffocate.  Sadly, many islands have not acted quickly enough, causing their reef systems to collapse.  Collapsed reef systems result in losses in tourism, fishing revenue, floods, deteriorated water quality, and less resistance to storms.  Luckily, Curaçao still has the chance to protect itself if action is taken immediately.

That’s why divers around Curaçao are leading the charge on the fight against plastic pollution.  Early in 2017, the Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association’s (CHATA) Dive Task Force in collaboration with the Project AWARE Foundation committed to the Adopt a Dive Site™ initiative.  Four members initially adopted their house reefs, pledging to conduct monthly Dive Against Debris beach and dive site clean ups.  Today, this program has grown to fourteen Curaçao Tourist Board approved diving operations who are investing in Curaçao’s future.  Now, Dive Against Debris™ events span from Director’s Bay to Westpunt!

According to CHATA CEO, Miles Mercera, “Our island’s subaquatic life is one of the many things that sets our island apart from the others in the Caribbean. So, it is of immense importance that we all work together as a sustainable community to conserve our ocean. The commitment of the Dive Task Force to the Dive Against Debris and Adopt a Dive Site Initiatives is the first step for sustaining and spreading awareness of our island’s ocean life. With the assistance and teamwork of the entire community I am certain that we can make this initiative bigger, create a sustainable change and provide the upcoming generation a healthier ecological marine life.”

Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao (STCC)

Sea turtles are long-lived species that reach sexual maturity after 20 – 30 years of age and migrate great distances at different stages of their lives.  These unique life history features necessitate international cooperation and long-term monitoring programs to best understand and safeguard these endangered species.

Once amazingly abundant, Caribbean Sea Turtles have seen rapid decline since the time of European expansion in the Americas. Hawksbills, as an example, have plunged 99.7% from 11 million to 30,000. Curaçao is very fortunate that both Green Turtles and Hawksbills return annually to nest at a variety of beach across the island including Klein Curaçao and Playa Kalki.

The main objectives of the Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao Foundation revolve around their mandated “3 Pillars of Success” which incorporates Research, Conservation and Education.  The goal of these 3 fundamental pillars is to influence and support local, as well as international decision making to achieve effective sea turtle conservation, ensuring sustainability.  Additionally, STCC works to increase local support for sea turtle and marine conservation through public awareness activities and leading by example through organizing beach cleanups.

Register today for the 2019 Annual Curaçao International Dive Festival – The Festival proceeds will be donated to support The Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao, The Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA) Dive Task Force “Adopt A Dive Site” Initiative and Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao.

By supporting these valuable and sustainable tourism initiatives, you will be reaffirming your commitment to the island of Curacao to ensure sustainability, so that future generations may benefit.  Additionally, you can directly support these initiatives through sponsorship, charitable donations and of course, becoming a volunteer.

Dive in… Register Today for the 2019 Annual Curaçao International Dive Festival and discover the Early Booking Bonus – a Sustainable Gift Package for the First 200 Registrations brought to you by Stream2Sea, Caribbean Organic Beauty, Plastic Free Curaçao, Lionfish Caribbean and Flavors of Curaçao!

Original author: Curacao Dive Task Force

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Monday, 19 August 2019
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