In 2021 we were delighted to be able to offer MSc Coastal and Marine Resource Management student, Antaya March, a grant to help towards the funding of her research project. Coming from South Africa her project was an investigation into the relationship between the recreational diving community and the marine protected areas that they enjoy. We are passionate about the importance of public engagement in helping to understand and resolve some of the issues facing our oceans so her research project ticked all the right boxes for us.
Antaya went on to pass her MSc with flying colours which was wonderful but we were even more delighted to learn that her research had been published in 2022 in the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management. Her research made a number of findings specifically, “That divers attach high value to the marine environment and the conservation thereof, but lack understanding as to the role of the MPA in which they dive and question its validity due to a lack of accessible information, poor enforcement, poor community engagement and larger scale problems such as poaching.” Whilst there is clearly work to be done in some areas to overcome the lack of understanding about MPAs the value that the diving community place on the environment is a fantastic starting point, especially, “If funding is redirected to MPA management uses, public participation and the use of citizen science programmes are increased, and education is strengthened.
You can read the full article by following the link above. From our perspective it is great to see our support of scientific research coming to fruition.