Can a small artificial reef reduce diving pressure from a natural coral reef? Lessons learned from Eilat, Red Sea

Omer Polak, Nadav Shashar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Part of the decline of coral reefs is attributed to the physical damage caused by divers. Consequently, active efforts are being invested to mitigate the diving pressure on and around natural reefs. We measured the effect of artificial reef (AR) placement on the diving behaviors of divers in training in the Red Sea's Gulf of Eilat on the southern tip of Israel. Dive groups were followed, and their diving times in an adjacent marine protected area (MPA) and surrounding natural coral outcrops were recorded. Time spent inside the MPA did not change. However, in-training divers reduced their times in the MPA and at two adjacent coral outcrops following AR deployment, but they did not alter other elements of their dives; coral transplantation did not affect diving behavior. A dive entry point located at least 90-m from the border of the MPA was sufficient to reduce dive time in the MPA. The AR had only a partial impact on diver behavior. Accordingly, future projects should take into account location, size, aesthetics, and the target visitors of the ARs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Volume55
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Can a small artificial reef reduce diving pressure from a natural coral reef? Lessons learned from Eilat, Red Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this