Champion freedivers William Trubridge, Guillaume Néry and Julie Gautier have joined environmental advocacy organization Ocean Quest Global’s campaign as ambassadors to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs.
While protecting and rehabilitating coral reefs via scuba diving is a viable option, it isn’t the only one. As such, Ocean Quest Global is working towards including freediving so that the members of those local communities can be fully involved in the process as well.
Coral reefs are traditionally monitored and rehabilitated by those with the financial capacity to do so, with the costs of scuba certification and equipment amounting to several months of average income in many countries across the world. Such efforts also tend to be occasionally inhibited by the operational issues presented by scuba diving equipment, particularly in remote or non-tourist areas.
According to Ocean Quest Global:
“The importance of healthy coral reefs to their surrounding communities cannot be understated, they not only provide them with food and revenue (through fisheries and tourism), but also stave off coastal erosion, thereby safeguarding land property from damage and reducing the risk of population displacement. It is estimated that coral reefs worldwide provide goods and services valued to be close to $30 billion on an annual basis.
“We want the processes of coral reef protection and rehabilitation to be more welcoming of the local communities, many of whose members have a long tradition of breath-hold diving activities.”
Consequently, Ocean Quest Global has been developing and is now finalizing a new and specific method of coral reef rehabilitation using freediving to this purpose. It’s been working with Apnea Total Freediving, its instructors and master students, getting advice on how to adapt the advocacy organization’s methodology and techniques to freediving.
Specific education in coral reef rehabilitation is scheduled to begin in early 2019. The objective over time is to set up protection and rehabilitation campaigns with local communities that will become fully self-regulating within a reasonable period after launch.
For more info, check out the Ocean Quest Global website.