The waters surrounding Atauro Island have been described by researchers as the most biodiverse in the world.
Conservation International (CI) found 643 species around Timor-Leste island, some of which are believed to be entirely new. In fact, a survey conducted by CI in 2016 recorded an average of 253 reef fish species at each dive site in Atauro, a new world record for the number of fish species in a reef. That’s a lot of species to find around an island that has a population of only 8,000 people.
However, several of Atauro’s reefs show serious damage from unsustainable fishing practices and lack of regulation and enforcement. To empower the local communities to monitor the health of their reef, Tide members, with partner Blue Ventures, helped establish the first program dedicated to training local community members in scuba diving and coral reef monitoring in Timor-Leste.
Last year, “The Tide” an organization that works to help protect people, spaces and places helped to provide funds to support a minimum of five members from the communities of Timor-Leste in attaining proficiency and certifications in scuba diving-based coral reef monitoring and data collection techniques and cover the costs of necessary equipment and transportation for the team.