Understanding the underwater behaviour of scuba divers in Hong Kong

Shan Shan Chung*, Alfred Au, Jian Wen Qiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Diving-related activities may constitute a major threat to coral reefs. This study aimed to quantify the impact of diving in Hong Kong on hard corals and understand how socio-economic characteristics and experience level of divers influence diver-inflicted damage. We recorded and analysed the underwater behaviour of 81 recreational divers. On average, a diver was in contact with marine biota 14.7 times with about 40 % of contacts involved corals and 38 % were damaging contacts with corals or other biota in a single dive. The most harm-inflicting groups included inexperienced and camera-carrying divers. Although Hong Kong divers did not make many damaging contacts with corals, there is still an imminent need to determine the scale of damage from diving activities on the marine ecosystem given the rapid development of marine-based tourism and the limited coral-inhabited areas in Hong Kong where the marine environment is already under stress from anthropogenic activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-837
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Corals
  • Diving impact
  • Eco-tourism
  • Hong Kong
  • Marine biota
  • Physical carrying capacity
  • Sustainable


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