Reef Conservation in the Caribbean
Each day will differ but volunteer tasks can include:
* Reef Check survey
* Queen Conch surveys
* Coral watch data collection
* Lobster Surveys
* Lionfish population monitoring and control
* Community education and awareness campaigns
There are 2-4 dives per day which are structured with opportunities to do a mix of reef check survey dives and species dives and wall dives. There are fun dives too, so the schedule is relaxed and not too regimented.
The early morning and night recreational dives are a great way to begin or end your day. On the reef, along with the more common marine life, volunteers frequently spot hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, spotted eagle rays, dolphins and manta rays. If you are lucky, at full moon you may also see whale sharks and the bioluminescence water light show from the String of Pearls.
It is a great location for beginners divers to gain their PADI Open Water qualification during their first week (which is required for the conservation work), since there are no strong currents, great visibility (15-40 metres) and is a safe non-challenging location. Divers who have already have their Open Water certificate can start on the conservation role straight away.
How is the project making a difference?
The project’s primary objective is to encourage the Belizean Government to enforce preservation zones in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. The team carry out marine surveys, collecting data on the local fish & invertebrate population and this is submitted internationally to Reef Check headquarters for inclusion in global coral reef status reports, and locally to the Belizean Department of Fisheries.
They have been very active in the monitoring of local fish populations, particularly the lionfish, and have been instrumental in the increase in community awareness campaigns.
In recognition of the fantastic work they are doing, the project was granted a Highly Commended award by the World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Best Responsible Wildlife Experiences category.
Why are volunteers needed?
Volunteers’ primary role is to contribute towards the projects on-going surveys, data collection and conservation work. They make a major contribution to the understanding of the reef ecosystem in the Sapodilla Cayes.
Volunteers help to raise awareness of the importance of the marine life and the research collected by the project team helps inform government decisions, particularly in regard to the department of fisheries.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Pod Volunteer should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.