Marine Animals’ Ethology as a New Product in Recreational SCUBA Diving Market
Recreational SCUBA diving market is a rapidly developing industry, which during the last years focuses among others in the observation of marine fauna and flora. An innovative approach towards this direction is to study whether animal, and particularly fish behaviour, can contribute to the development of SCUBA diving tourism. The principal two axes of the current survey were the enhancement of SCUBA diving safety (via the promotion of swallow waters biocommunities) and the marine life protection (via environmental awareness). The two study areas are located in Chalkidiki peninsula (Greece, North Aegean Sea). The preliminary part of this study demonstrated a non significant difference between males and females regarding their age, their diving experience (training level and hours of diving) and their diving preferences (depth and type of sea bottom). Nesting and agonistic behavior of three Labridae fish (Symphodus ocellatus, Symphodus cinereus, Xyrichthys novacula) were used as motivation factors in the three testing hypotheses. Among those three hypotheses, diving in shallow rocky bottom aiming at the observation of Symphodus ocellatus seems to be the most attractive for the divers. As a general remark, briefing is a very useful tool that can inform, but also orientate the customers. Additionally, the very poor knowledge of Mediterranean undersea wildlife, especially by the recreational SCUBA diving staff should be mentioned. As a conclusion, the current approach can be used for the enhancement of SCUBA diving product (i.e. promotion of specialties such as Fish Identification) or increase of SCUBA diving equipment (i.e. underwater cameras).
KeywordsSCUBA diving Marine tourism Fish ethology
The authors would like to thank the BCK society for its support during the implementation of the current survey.
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