Biodiversity Conservation Project launched for the Eco-tourism Year
FEATURE: The Sunday Times 23rd June 2002
Beautiful seas, breathless scenes, inspirational setting, exciting adventure and discoveries are some of the elements that nature may provide free of charge. However, the increasing human impacts too often without control or environmental consideration is decreasing the extent to which nature may continue to contribute free of charge. Restoration projects are very expensive as are reintroduction of extinct natural populations of animals and plants. Thus the most important lesson learned is that conservation is an activity that should prevent the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of our natural assets before it is too late, rather than trying to patch what is already a losing cause. Nature sustains itself through complex cycles, and processes that need to be respected. However, too often lack of knowledge of these features make it more difficult for mankind to appreciate and respect what seems not to affect our pocket and our quality of life. Unfortunately, time is proving that indeed both our pockets and our quality of life will indeed be affected because of mismanagement of our limited natural resources.
The Biological Conservation Research Foundation, (BICREF), a non-profit organization working toward assisting conservation assessments, monitoring and management through scientific research is thus launching a new project that will supplement its own ongoing conservation research efforts. The BICREF marine biodiversity conservation project will involve the use of a coloured slate with different marine organisms that are being investigated in different local habitats in our seas. Tourists and locals joining dives with local dive clubs, such as Gozo Aqua Sports Club, SCUBATECH, Strand Diving Services, Subway SCUBA, Divewise and others that are giving their support to this project, will be able to supply vital feedback on our marine biodiversity while enjoying their dives. Also important is that this project is open to all SCUBA divers and snorklers who may wish to take up diving with an extra challenge this year. In the latter case persons are directed to write to BICREF, PO BOX 30, HAMRUN or to email: BICREF@hotmail.com so as to receive the information on this project.
Apart from this project BICREF has been active in the Cetacean (dolphins and whales), Bluefin tuna fishing and penning, Grouper, Elasmobranchs (rays and sharks), turtles and sealife research work which are all unique and demanding as they are undertaken in scientific manner and with limited financial resources. BICREF looks forward to increase its contribution as funds will increase to support such necessary work.
Conservation work demands time and efficient human effort. BICREF members are actively doing this through hands-on participation in scientific research and training and they are encouraged by the increasing interest coming from different local industries that are starting to recognize the value of objective and scientific work required for increasing accurate nature conservation awareness and action. 2002 is the International Year of Eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is not just a case for promoting increased activities where ever nature permits, but involves a closer considerations of how to decrease the impacts of human activities so as to allow our natural resources to continue giving each tourist and Maltese their share of natural enjoyment in the long-term. BICREF's efforts aim at making this a local reality.
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