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An alternative approach for managing scuba diving in small marine protected areas

TitleAn alternative approach for managing scuba diving in small marine protected areas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLloret J, Carreno F, Marin-Guirao L, Marin A
JournalAquatic conservation marine and freshwater ecosystems
Keywordsassemblage, benthic assemblage, Cabo de Palos-Islas Hormigas, decision making, habitat, impact, island, management, management tool, mapping, marine protected area, marine reserve, Mediterranean sea, protected area, protection measure, scuba-diving, Spain, tourism, western Mediterranean

1. As the interest of divers in exploring marine protected areas grows, so does their impact on sensitive marine organisms and communities. This situation has led managers to adopt a variety of measures to manage scuba diving in marine reserves. However, if marine areas need to be managed and protected from the adverse effects of human activities, then the characterization of marine habitats and the communities they contain, along with the potential effects of scuba diving, will need to be evaluated on scientific lines.2. To this end, the use of benthic mapping, together with an evaluation of community vulnerability, constitutes a complementary tool for managing scuba diving, as is demonstrated in the present study.3. The identification and evaluation of the different communities observed in Cabo de Palos-Islas Hormigas Marine Reserve enables managers to propose different measures for controlling potential diver impact and also for evaluating the effects of these measures, thus reducing the degradation of the benthic organisms and communities, benefiting the local tourism industry and allowing a more sustainable use of the marine reserve resources.

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