February 2015: Gearing Up for 2015

A belated Happy New Year!  I’m excited about an upcoming scuba diving trip to the amazing island of Miyakojima next month.  It’s a treasure chest of biodiversity towards the end of the Okinawa island chain and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the huge rock formations underwater, swimming with the fish and enjoying the peace and quiet that the island has to offer.

Fortunately Miyakojima’s marine life seems to have been kept relatively safe from the growing number of tourists including scuba divers.  6 weeks or so into 2015 and the discovery of one of Japan’s largest single-species colonies of coral recently caught my attention.  It was found during work to remove crown-of-thorns starfish in Nagura Bay off Ishigakijima, further south of Miyakojima.  Read more about the discovery here: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001921604.  Okinawa’s corals remain under threat due to warming seas and coral bleaching but let’s hope that efforts to protect them keep going.

Regarding ocean conservation, Japan’s Environment Ministry is studying the possibility of working with Green Fins, a management approach set up by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to encourage dive centres, local communities and government practices to reduce their environmental impacts on the oceans.  I’ll be keeping an eye on how this goes and staying in touch with Green Fins this year to help them reach out to the diving enthusiasts of Japan.

The beginning of 2015 not only marks a fresh year but also some time to continue my article writing, dive training and to explore new avenues.  With about 5 dive sites left, I’ll soon have covered all the main dive spots in Japan I’d planned to visit and will continue focusing on more news, stories and opportunities in marine initiatives in Japan.

Thank you for reading and…see you underwater!

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