Giving Back through Citizen Science at Dive & Sea the Hebrides – updated 8th January 2020

We know Skye offers a world-class diving environment and we MUST contribute to maintaining that precious status. “2020 is the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development” and “Visit Scotland’s year of coasts and waters”.  Now is the perfect opportunity to do our bit. We have plans in place to collaborate with national and international projects, and should you choose to, these will offer the opportunity for you to participate. This is something that has been burning in the background of our ambition for a few years. Climate change seems to have created a global focus and momentum around  international collaboration to protect what we ALL care about. It is essential for our very survival that we participate.

As a diver you are lucky to how much we have to celebrate around our coastal environment, You also know how much we have yet to understand and what we must protect. There are so many global threats to our ocean environment, and astonishingly little awareness exists about this outwith the diving community. Add to that a huge abyss of missing data and unforgivably few facts on record and we have an environmental nightmare to manage.

So Dive & Sea the Hebrides is stepping up it’s involvement with the global Citizen Science movement by contributing to a number of established projects. These already include Seasearch and Surfers Against Sewage Beach Cleans, and tackling Ghost Fishing is next on the high priority list. There are a number of others we propose to become more actively involved with and perhaps we will be able to develop some of our own. Opportunities will become available for you to join in this vital global movement and we will bring you more news in the coming weeks.

Project 1: Seasearch

We kick off the 2020 dive season in April when we host a week long ‘Seasearch’ expedition, which will add to the the survey work undertaken in 2013. After next years survey week, we plan to embed a programme of ongoing survey work, which you will be able to participate in. More news will follow soon.

Project 2: Rid Waternish of Marine Litter 

Through our sister company ‘Divers Eye Boat Trips’ we recently commenced a programme of beach cleans in collaboration with the local community and Surfers Against Sewage.  We have established a winter and spring programme of cleans to rid the entire Waternish peninsula of marine litter. In response to a local appeal for volunteers, 45  people stepped up and last week we started cleaning the shores of local Isay Island, a popular dive site, and Special Area of Conservation for common seals. We split the 1 mile long island into 8 shores and over 2 long and effective days, 26 people cleared only 3 of them! We filled every bag we took, and transported 2 full boat loads back to shore to fill one skip. Another load of bags wait to come ashore to fill another skip and 4 beaches on that island remain to be cleaned. The rubbish was astonishing, and details of what was found will feed into national statistics to inform national ocean plastic pollution policy. Photos of that initial BEACH CLEANshow the extent of the problem and this album is shared on our facebook page. UPDATE A dedicated has been set up at SKYE TIDY TIDELINES and there remains around 25 miles of shore to clean. A programme of beach clean events is available online.

Project 3: Ghost Fishing

Next we plan to tackle ghost fishing ………… and maybe you can help! News and updates will be posted on our News Page and our Facebook Events page.