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News Briefs – Women Divers, Alvin, PADI hero

Women Divers Deck the Halls

Six new members were inducted into the prestigious Women Divers Hall of Fame on March 29 at the Beneath the Sea Awards Banquet.

Barbara Allen: Pioneer, Instructor, Ocean Advocate. Kristine Barsky: Marine Biologist, Environmentalist, Author, Videographer. Emma L. Hickerson: Marine Researcher, Science Interpreter, Photographer. Jayne Jenkins: Photographer, Educational Non-Profit Leader. Deidre Sullivan: Marine Geologist, Submersible Diver. Tamara Thomsen: Maritime Archaeologist, Shipwreck Conservationist.

The international, non-profit society founded in 2000, aims to recognize the contributions of outstanding women divers in a wide variety of fields from the arts, to science, medicine, education and commercial diving. The foundation also offers 13 scholarships and training grants each year. More information can be found at: www.wdhof.org 

Great Barrier Dumping Zone

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved the dumping of three million cubic meters of dredge waste in park waters.

A coal expansion project requires the dredging of a dock at Abbot Point port, in a bid to boost capacity by 70 percent.

The World Heritage-listed reef is already facing increased environmental threat from land-based pollution and climate change. This move could impact the Reef’s UNESCO status, which meets in June to discuss the issue.

Although the dumping area consists of ‘sand, silt and clay’ with no coral reefs present, the move is considered a major set back by many who feel that exposure to poisons and increased nutrients may cause lasting damage.

The GBRMPA wants strict environmental controls in place for the dump.

Photo: Courtesy WHOI

Photo: Courtesy WHOI

Alvin cleared for service

After a major three year overhaul America’s deepest diving research submersible, Alvin, has been certified to return to the deep. Upgrades to the three-person sub include an increased depth rating to 21,300 feet (6,500m), improved interior ergonomics, two additional view ports, new lighting, HD imaging, and aboard support vessel Atlantis, an improved launch and hangar system.

For more information visit: www.whooi.edu

Be a PADI hero

PADI’s ScubaEarth has teamed up with GoPro to promote SCUBA diving and the chance for you to win  a new camera in the process. Each month PADI will select a new video that promotes diving lifestyle in 5 minutes or less. Get shooting! www.scubaearth.com/gopro-video-contest-details

Diver Population Growing Fast in China

Sport diving is on the rise in the world’s most populous country as China’s middle class grows.

The China Underwater Association (CUA) says certified divers and retail dive shops reflect this growth. As the chart shows, certs have increased from under 1,000 in 2008 to about 13,000 today. 93 dive centers now operate in northern China,  79 shops serve the market in southern China. The next Diving Resort and Travel Expo is set for Shanghai March 28-30. The CUA says the Chinese dive and travel market has grown approximately 30% annually since 2006. Revenues of 45 million RMB, approximately USD$7,426,477 are reported.

Build-A-Reef

The Peace Reef Project in the Florida Keys is an artificial reef intended to complement the only living coral barrier reef system in the continental U.S. Its unique feature? It would be created in the shape of a giant peace symbol.

To be situated in 25 feet (8m) of water 2.5 miles (4km) off the coast, the project is a large scale living art project and is intended to serve as a model of how to naturally reconstruct and maintain coral reef systems. The 150-foot (46m)diameter reef will be constructed entirely from limestone, a favorite for coral which requires a hard surface on which to take root and grow. In the mock up shown here, you can see dark patches – piles of limestone already on the site.

For more info visit: www.peacereef.com 

 

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