Local dive boats help catch culprits
On Saturday March 2, 2013, dredging equipment was transported south along the Palm Beach coast to begin a beach renourishment project in Delray Beach. On Sunday morning divers discovered “cable drag” damage to a popular local dive spot know as Flower Gardens Reef. In a coordinated effort Pura Vida Divers , Narcosis Dive Charters, and Abernathy’s Scuba Adventures took action to assess and photograph the damage.
Narcosis crew members inspected the damage and took pictures. Narcosis Captain Van Blakeman sent the photos to the FDEP Reef Injury Prevention and Response Team. FDEP then sent a team of divers to catalogue the damage and coordinate restoration efforts with the responsible party.
Under the 2009 Florida Coral Reef Protection Act the responsible party must pay compensation for the cost of replacing and restoring the coral reef. The cost of damage assessments, including staff time. The cost of monitoring the injured/restored coral reef for at least 10 years. The cost of enforcement actions undertaken in response to the destruction or loss of or injury to a coral reef, including court costs, attorney’s fees, and expert witness fees. And a penalty of $1,000 per square meter of damaged reef.
A few days later, in an unrelated incident, Splashdown Divers happened upon a sunken boat on Boynton’s Gulfstream Reef. They dispatched divers to photograph the wreck and reef damage. As with Narcosis this information was sent to the FDEP Reef Injury Prevention and Response Team. FDEP has identified the vessel’s owner and is coordinating efforts to assess coral damage at this latest location.
Link to FDEP website. Use this link to report reef damage.
Also see: Reef Rescue nabs dredge in Delray Beach