Quest Underseas provides locally relevant marine research and conservation projects, which involve and support local communities. This is frequently not part of management plans, tourism initiatives or government development strategies- something we aim to change.
We believe firmly that for conservation measures to work, the local community must be involved, and benefit directly or indirectly from the conservation of their marine resources. Tourist operations (especially dive operations) involve huge set-up costs and in developing countries are hence frequently foreign owned and operated, ignoring the needs of local fishermen and community members.
Quest Underseas provide baseline data on the conservation value of particular areas and including local institutions, local government and community members / fishing cooperatives, much more can be achieved and a more equitable outcome, benefiting all resource users, is possible. Through capacity building, an investment in our charitable trust fund, providing training to local counterparts and aiming to disseminate information frequently, we can conserve some of the world's most incredible natural wonders for local people and marine-life alike.
Our Turtle and Marine Research expedition gives volunteers the incredible chance to contribute towards unique projects in conjunction with the Utila Centre for Marine Ecology (UCME). This presents a fantastic opportunity to become involved with marine research, go diving and get a feel for life in the Bay Islands, whilst gathering and analysing essential data on our specific research projects.
Our Honduras project is suited to those divers wanting formal training in surveying techniques, marine ecology, and plan to work in the field of conservation. Our Honduras Underseas expedition runs in July and focuses on Reef health research and Hawksbill turtle nesting site conservation. You can opt to join for 2-5 weeks. Although the peak Whale Shark season on Utila is March to May, if you're lucky enough you might spot one out there... otherwise head to Mozambique for our other Underseas expedition.
The reason quest are involved in Mozambique has a 5 year history of contacts in the community and now the urgent need to get protection in place and derive some benefits for the local community who are currently more or less ignored in decision-making and derive little or no benefits from the tourism based around their marine resources.
Shark-finning currently provides a better income than fishing and as the fishermen are not benefiting from the tourist industry it would continue- this is why our work will be crucial in the local area.
Our contacts with local institutions such as Inhambane University and local government means we are targeting relevant, socially minded conservation work, something which has been in quests ethos all along...
We have continued our whale shark and manta ray research and formed a formal partnership with ECOCEAN. Brad Norman (one of the founders of the global whale shark database www.whaleshark.org) visited our project site and has since given us the ability to feed our data directly into the global database. Our project will be the first new 'node / branch' of ECOCEAN and already uploading new sharks from southern Mozambique. We are also uploading our data to the 'save the mantas network' (www.mantas.org) to complete their data set for Mozambique.
Our volunteers charitable donations have been put to good use in that we have installed a borehole at the local school providing clean drinking water to around 200 schoolchildren aged 6-12 and a total of around 360 members of the local community. Combined with running the workshops in the local school this will really make a difference out there.something everyone can get involved in.
After meetings with the biology department at University Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo and meeting the director at ESHTI in Inhambane, we have been invited formally and have the ability to provide training and internships to Mozambican students. This will be of huge value to both our project research (into issues as diverse as sustainable tourism and shark finning) and for capacity building within the host country- a key aim of our project.
Our start dates for Mozambique are now on a monthly basis from June to November. This means more research, more community work and more potential for collaborative work with UK and Mozambican students carrying out individual research.
Diving in southern Mozambique in unique, from the boat journey seeing humpback whales and dolphins, to the dive sites, which are varied and include Manta Ray cleaning stations, deep reefs full of schooling fish, walls and drift diving. Snorkeling with whale sharks is almost guaranteed on a daily basis for our research project, which means that aside from fulfilling a lifetime ambition to swim with the biggest fish in the sea, you can be involved in their protection, knowledge about them and making sure they provide a better future for the communities currently excluded from the industry emerging around them.
Utila is the prime dive destination of the Honduras Bay Islands, part of the Meso-America barrier reef system, and the second largest in the world! Diving in Utila's warm, crystal clear waters offers a fantastic opportunity to visit one of the popular dive locations in the world - but taking an active role in the conservation of those resources, from the reefs surrounding the islands to the turtle nesting sites on the deserted cayes.
The value of baseline data in demonstrating conservation value in regions, which currently have no protected status, is immense. The urgency to get the crucial information together, in order to inform local counterparts and decision-makers means that Quest Underseas need researchers and volunteers from many backgrounds with a passion for marine life and trying to improve the situation for many of the worlds coastal communities.
Methodologies have been specifically designed to gather relevant information to inform decision-makers and lead to cooperation with local institutions and global databases to lead to an increase in knowledge of little-studied marine life and unknown coastal communities who still live in conjunction with some of the worlds most unspoiled and natural resources.
Sometimes badly managed tourism itself becomes a threat, something Quest Underseas aim to research and inform better management, control and local involvement of these threatened resources.
How can you join Underseas?
1. Start by checking our website at www.questunderseas.com all the relevant information on prices, project outlines, cost breakdown, pictures and volunteer feedback are available along with a downloadable application form.
2. Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Give me a call in the office 0044 1444 474744 or on skype quest.office
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