Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Biology

Abstract

Diving-related activities may constitute a major threat to coral reefs. This study aimed to quantify the impact of diving in Hong Kong on hard corals and understand how socio-economic characteristics and experience level of divers influence diver-inflicted damage. We recorded and analysed the underwater behaviour of 81 recreational divers. On average, a diver was in contact with marine biota 14.7 times with about 40 % of contacts involved corals and 38 % were damaging contacts with corals or other biota in a single dive. The most harm-inflicting groups included inexperienced and camera-carrying divers. Although Hong Kong divers did not make many damaging contacts with corals, there is still an imminent need to determine the scale of damage from diving activities on the marine ecosystem given the rapid development of marine-based tourism and the limited coral-inhabited areas in Hong Kong where the marine environment is already under stress from anthropogenic activities.

Publication Year

2013

Journal Title

Environmental Management

Volume number

51

Issue number

4

Publisher

Springer

First Page (page number)

824

Last Page (page number)

837

Referreed

1

DOI

10.1007/s00267-013-0023-y

Comments

The final publication is available at link.springer.com.

© 2013, Springer. View original published version at the Document URL.

ISSN (print)

1432-1009

Keywords

Physical carrying capacity, Diving impact, Hong Kong, Eco-tourism, Sustainable, Corals, Marine biota

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