Divers on the Great Barrier Reef can be a scientist for a day with the introduction of the National Geographic Diver Program on Passions of Paradise next month (May).
Passions of Paradise Sales and Marketing Manager Adam O’Malley said the Cairns-based company was introducing the program for the growing number of travellers who wanted to help conserve the environment they visited.
“We are lucky enough to work in a World Heritage area and are actively involved in helping to preserve this beautiful part of the world by being environmentally sustainable and making sure we educate our passengers about reef conservation,” he said.
Passions of Paradise Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Russell Hosp said Passions was selected to be part of the National Geographic Diver Program through its affiliation with PADI.
“National Geographic chooses partners who share their mission of exploration and conservation of our planet,” he said.
“This course allows divers to enhance their diving experience by learning more about underwater conservation, as well as improving practical skills such as navigation and buoyancy.
“Divers can choose an exploration project of their own or participate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef program which Passions regularly contributes to.
“The Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring Survey simplifies the process of data collection so anyone, not just marine biologists, can contribute information on the health of the reef.
“Divers are given an underwater slate with information on it that allows them to tally the fish species they see and asks questions to help them make observations about the coral.”
Mr Hosp said Passions had a long history of collecting data for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and participated in several government reef monitoring programs including WhaleWatch and BleachWatch as well as regularly hosting researchers on-board.
“Passions of Paradise continually strives to introduce new environmental initiatives and set excellent sustainability standards,” he said.
“We have achieved Climate Action Leader status with Ecotourism Australia status by reducing our footprint on the planet and offsetting our remaining carbon emissions through a recognised offset program with the help of voluntary contributions by passengers.