Our marine ecosystems are facing serious threats due to humankind’s unsustainable interference. Over-fishing, unregulated tourist activities, and the destruction of coral reefs are among some of the main issues facing our waters and the marine life who call the ocean their home. Less than 3% of the global oceans are protected, so there has never been a greater need to control the damage and destruction of this unique ecosystem.
The main threats to our marine ecosystem causing these issues are:
Africa’s coastline is over 30,000km in length and bounded by the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans, as well as the Red and Mediterranean seas. While most think of Africa’s wildlife consisting of the Great Plains animals such as elephants and lions, it has incredibly diverse marine ecosystems home to whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and so much more. The communities living along the African coast rely on their marine ecosystems for sustenance, as well as tourism, meaning the need for conservation is great.
Marine conservation volunteers with African Impact get hands-on in our conservation efforts across the continent. In Zanzibar, volunteers assist in important research to ensure the safety and tranquility of the dolphin populations and collect vital data to enforce stricter control and regulations for dolphin tourism. Here, they play a pivotal role in contributing towards sustaining dolphin populations in safe and ethical ways, for tourism purposes, due to the important economic value dolphin tourism generates. It is also a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, meaning research into the health of coral reefs is also important.
Alternatively, volunteers can take to the colder waters of South Africa and help protect one of the ocean’s greatest predators, the Great white shark. As adventure begins at the edge of your comfort zone, volunteers will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with these sharks (from the confines of a cage) and collect data to help identify and monitor their movements and behaviors. Over 100 million sharks a year are slaughtered, so this project has a strong emphasis on education and changing perceptions of these remarkable animals.
To make the most out of your volunteering experience, volunteers can also take the time to participate in the PADI Advanced and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver courses to contribute to other initiatives, including whale shark and manta ray research.
To maximize our impact, volunteers expand on the good work currently being done by taking our work further out into the community, to educate locals on the importance of protecting their marine ecosystems. Ultimately, conservation is about people and we cannot expect a change in behavior without educating the people who use, and rely on, the ocean daily for sustenance.
Why do we support marine conservation? Our marine ecosystem and coral reefs provide natural beauty and vibrant life, adding another dimension to what vibrant Africa has to offer. The life within our oceans is magical, but some species are at risk and must be protected. The impact of tourism must be revised regularly and controlled to allow for the economy to thrive, while also keeping our oceans safe.
Make a lasting impact and help protect and maintain our fragile marine ecosystems. Check out our marine conservation projects above to get involved.