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New project to save the Great Barrier Reef

Professional Association of Diving Instructors – PADI is joining forces with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Census science project. Between October and December 2020, divers, dive boats, marine tourism operators and other members of the reef community were mobilised to form a makeshift research flotilla. Their mission was to
Published: February 26, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:04
New project to save the Great Barrier Reef

Professional Association of Diving Instructors – PADI is joining forces with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef in the Great Barrier Reef Census science project.

Between October and December 2020, divers, dive boats, marine tourism operators and other members of the reef community were mobilised to form a makeshift research flotilla. Their mission was to acquire data and images from across Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

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New project to save the Great Barrier Reef

As climate change and other threats intensify around the world, there is an urgent need to scale up global conservation efforts, which requires a commitment from all of us. The global diving community is in a unique position to support these efforts with the skills, passion and knowledge needed to support marine conservation efforts,” said Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Divers, scientists, tourists and conservation groups put in hundreds of hours and surveyed over 160 different reefs from the tip of Cape York to the remote Southern Swains. This has produced a photographic record of over 13,000 images, which has been uploaded to the Great Reef Census platform for further analysis.

As divers and PADI professionals, we are all ambassadors for our oceans. The Great Reef Census is a groundbreaking idea for ocean conservation that includes anyone with access to the internet. It allows people around the world to virtually visit the reef and participate in an important project to protect it,” said Michelle Barry of PADI

New project to save the Great Barrier Reef
Both organisations are calling on divers around the world and all those who care about the future of the ocean to help turn these images into meaningful data, helping to better understand the state of coral reefs. Each image can be analysed by anyone, anywhere. All you need is internet access and a few minutes of free time.

This is the future of conservation on the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone can show that they have the region’s best interests at heart. If people are really serious about saving the Great Barrier Reef, this is their chance to go to greatreefcensus.org, raise their hand and say ‘Yes, I want to be part of the solution’,” said Russell Hosp of PADI

The Great Reef Census is the first to test the effectiveness of mass engagement in a significant underwater research project. If successful, the model could be rolled out globally, providing real-time status updates on precious reefs.

From climate change to marine pollution and deforestation, the pressures on global ecosystems are growing rapidly. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced three cases of mass coral fading in the last five years.

New project to save the Great Barrier Reef
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Only between 5 and 10 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef is regularly surveyed, and the Great Barrier Reef Census aims to help fill critical gaps in our knowledge of how individual reefs cope with stress and provide valuable data.

We encourage everyone to participate in the survey at greatreefcensus.org. To learn more about the issues affecting ocean health and ways to be part of the solution, join the PADI Torchbearers™ community uniting to save the ocean at padi.com/onebillion.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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