Whether you’re here because of issues you’ve observed while SCUBA diving or you’re aware of the threats reefs face and wish to act proactively, remember that every reef is unique, facing its own specific challenges and pressures.
As a local reef steward, the centers where you are doing your training hold a distinct advantage. Like the reefs, they are familiar with the local environment, which can lead to greater efficiency than big international groups.
The local perspective they have placed them in an ideal position to monitor, document, and address these issues. Moreover, they have made it their role to understand these processes and share this knowledge with the local community and outside professional groups.
The various groups who rely on or have a direct interest in the ecosystem are called stakeholders. The most successful local reef managers foster a network that engages all stakeholders.
External groups like local governments, researchers, marine or fisheries departments, non-profits, etc., can significantly support their work. And they can make those groups’ efforts more impactful by helping direct efforts, engaging the local community, and maintaining the projects after they are implemented.
Another crucial asset is the volunteer base—community members or visitors who can help execute the necessary projects. You raise awareness and contribute positively to the situation by getting involved and educating yourself. Getting certified and training with a local manager also generates funds to sustain the work being done.
This course aims to enhance your understanding and ability to make a positive difference with the local reef managers you assist.