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Reef Conservation Month at Divetech Grand Cayman

From Dive Magazine UK

During the month of October, Divetech Grand Cayman is focusing its efforts on conservation issues which concern the dive community. In conjunction with Eco Divers and Vivo restaurant, Divetech is hosting a Coral Conservation workshop on Sunday, 28 October 2018, all proceeds from which will go the Eco Divers Coral Reef Foundation.

Ocean and reef conservation is a hot topic across the global media, especially in light of the latest IPCC report. The constant reminder of coral bleaching, lionfish invasion and plastic pollution has put this high on the agenda for all divers.

Joanna Mikutowicz, owner of Divetech Grand Cayman, has been a leader in the Cayman Islands fighting for conservation issues. Divetech has given her a platform from which to educate and the tools with which to implement and co-ordinate conservation programs. Her primary focus to date has been organizing lionfish culls. Recently, the Divetech team caught more than 560 lionfish in one day, at depths of up to 100m (330ft) while using rebreather equipment.

Joanna explains: ‘This month I wanted to raise awareness about some of the issues that are close to divers’ hearts. I want Divetech to be educating and leading the conservation efforts in the Cayman Islands. We cannot ignore the issues we see before us every day and I want to give the local community the opportunity to get involved and try lionfish culling for themselves! We are offering 20 per cent off our Department of the Environment approved Lionfish Culling course throughout October 2018. We are also offering 20 per cent off our freediving courses as a way to re-engage divers with the natural beauty of our ocean and the issues affecting it.’

Divetech will be hosting the conservation event on Sunday, 28 of October 2018. The event will consist of a workshop where divers will learn about the coral nursery at Lighthouse Point and issues facing the coral reefs on the island in recent years. Aaron Hunt from Eco Divers will be coordinating the workshop. Aaron has dedicated years to the coral restoration issues in Grand Cayman and his work at the coral nursery since 2016 has resulted in the growth of over 1,000 pieces of coral, with more than 100 pieces being out planted as part of the restoration efforts. Following the workshop, divers will be taken on a scuba dive to the nursery to see first-hand the work that is taking place.

To conclude the event, Vivo restaurant, based at Lighthouse Point, will be offering a special three-course dinner from their new menu, to include some of their signature lionfish dishes.

Michele Zama, the owner of Vivo restaurant, explains ‘Lionfish are a menace to Caribbean waters. Native to Asia, these striped fish arrived in the Americas as visually striking additions to in-home personal aquariums. However, once released into the wild in foreign waters, the lionfish had no natural predators. Their subsequent ascension up the Caribbean food chain has unfortunately disturbed the ecosystem and harmed coral reefs. Spearing these reef-dwellers is encouraged, but it has not been sufficient to entirely curb the spread of lionfish populations across the Caribbean.’

Event tickets are $75ci which includes the Coral Conservation workshop, a dive to the coral nursery & Vivo’s three-course dinner.

For more information about the event or Divetech’s ‘Reef Aware Month’, contact Divetech on (345) 946-5658 or email [email protected] or follow us on Facebook

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