From Aug 25th the October 11th the Bali dive community sprung into action with a whole host of events to raise money for the Project AWARE ( Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility & Education ) Foundation and Shark conservation activities in particular.
Project AWARE is a registered non-profit organization working with volunteer scuba divers and ocean advocates to protect the ocean planet – one dive at a time. Focused on the critical issues of Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, Project AWARE empowers thousands of divers in more than 180 countries to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet.
The Project AWARE Foundation was established in 1989 by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) in response to growing concerns by some scuba divers about potential harm inflicted on coral reefs by recreational and commercial water activities. Man’s activities and natural disasters have led to a reductions in our natural reef systems. Divers are in a unique position to observe an environmental crisis in its early stages and are encouraged to contact local authorities when they notice anything unusual.
Shark species are critically endangered because of commercial and recreational fishing pressures, the impact of non-shark fisheries on the seabed and shark prey species, and other habitat alterations such as damage and loss from coastal development and marine pollution. Rising demands for shark products has increased pressure on shark fisheries, but little monitoring or management occurs of most fisheries. Major declines in shark stocks have been recorded over the past few decades; some species have declined over 90% and population declines of 70% are not unusual. Harvesting young sharks before they reproduce severely impacts future populations. Sharks generally reach sexual maturity only after many years and produce few offspring in comparison to other fish species.
Conservationists estimate that up to 100 million sharks are killed by commercial and recreational fishing every year. Sharks are often killed for shark fin soup, which some Asian countries regard as a status symbol. Fishermen capture live sharks, fin them, and dump the finless animal back into the water to die from suffocation or predators !! Sharks are also killed for their flesh in Europe and elsewhere. In 2009, the IUCN Shark Specialist Group reported that over half the pelagic sharks targeted by high-seas fisheries were threatened with extinction.
The events were a coordinated collaboration between Joes Gone Diving, Crystal Divers, Blue Season Bali and more than 8 other Bali dive shops joining forces to sponsor the event, donating various prizes and entering sponsored teams into the volleyball tournament.
Over the 7 weeks there were regular volleyball matches as well as flea markets, Ice bucket challenges finishing up with a massive Funathon extravaganza for all ages at Crystal divers with another flea market, gladiator games over the pool, a free diving competition, volley ball, face painting, drinking games, silent auction, raffle draw, coconut shy, bang the nail, pop the balloons, and of course a massive party !!!
In total a world record 14’000 US$ was raised for Project AWARE by divers and dive centers during the Funathon and it is with huge thanks to everyone involved for organising this important project !!
All4Diving Indonesia is a 100% Project AWARE Partner Dive Center and a PADI 5* facility and we were delighted to be directly involved in the Funathon events, A4D had a couple of close fought matches in the volleyball tournament and the A4D team absolutely loved being involved in all the fun and games..