If you had the chance to dive a remote Cuban reef, would you take it?
With the recent thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations, a group of U.S. university researchers recently traveled to Cuba to visit a marine park off the coast of the island nation and see what could be done to preserve it for both fishing as well as scuba tourism.
Researchers from the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi teamed up with the Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Program (CubaMar) as well as The Ocean Foundation on a February 10-17 trip to the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) marine park off the coast of Cuba.
While there, the researchers dove the reef, evaluating efforts to conserve it, as well as looking at how the park was being managed for use by both scuba divers and fishermen.
According to a report posted on the HRI website:
“The park is very isolated and getting to it is a significant exercise. We chose to fly into Camagüey, take a two hour cab ride (even our driver got lost!) to the small fishing village and port of Júcaro, where Avalon (the Italian company with diving and fishing concession for the garden) bases it ships. Next is a four-hour cruise to the Avalon field base on the inside edge of the archipelago. There we used the Halcón, a liveaboard ship for our nine person team to explore the park over a four-day period.”
Check out the full report here.