An Environmental Economic Assessment of the Impacts of Recreational SCUBA diving on Coral Reef Systems in Hurghada, The Red Sea, Egypt
Serour, Ramy Khaled
Kangas, Patrick C.
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During visits to coral reef locations, divers support the economy by spending money on goods and services provided by local businesses. However, divers also impact the reef during their visits, causing stress. This study presents estimates of rates of damage to corals and assesses patterns of dive behavior on selected sites. I also present an economic analysis of diving activities in the region and propose an estimate of diver "carrying capacity", using an emergy-based approach. While diving tourism generates revenues in the order $5-8.3 million annually, divers inflict damage to the coral reef at a rate of ~1250 potentially damaging contacts a day at the most heavily used sites. As a result, I suggest that these sites should be subject to 13,000-14,000 dives per year. This study aims to provide valuable information for the development of management plans to regulate diving operations and reduce reef degradation in the region.