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November 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Experienced Divers Arenít Excited by Artificial Reefs

from the November, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Coral reefs in warm waters are probably what lured you into getting scuba certified, but the damage done to them by climate change and pollution run-off is also damaging the dive industry. What's a way to relieve pressure on the reefs, and still lure people into diving? Artificial reefs are often considered the way to do both.

Three marine science researchers from the University of Hull in the U.K. wanted to see what divers, new and veteran, thought about diving on artificial reefs versus the real thing. Over two years, they asked 200 divers who visited Barbados (which has natural reefs, shipwrecks and reef balls around the island) about their dive preferences. Most expressed a clear preference for large shipwrecks or sunken boats as their top artificial reef types; no one liked diving reef balls or rubber tires. Broken down by dive experience, those who liked diving artificial reefs were novices; satisfaction declined with increased dive experience, as experienced divers overwhelmingly preferred natural reefs....

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