Oceano Sostenible

Recovering a marine ecosystem and working to make it a protected area.

Felipe Ravina Olivares

Age 20, Spain

PROJECT: Recovering a marine ecosystem and working to make it a protected area.

Tell us about the work you are doing to create a wilder world.
We have recovered a marine ecosystem to make it a diving paradise so the people who go there can see a unique place and a balanced ecosystem with their own eyes, making it a lifetime experience. We have been working on this area for 10 years, cleaning the ecosystem of sea urchins (Diadema antillarum) because they have massive populations here in Canary Islands, and when that happens the alimentary chain breaks. We recovered the ecosystem and now we want to create a protected area with rules and regulations so we can enjoy this paradise for many years.

 

What are five (5) of your short term goals to accomplish in the next 1-2 years?
1. Control of the sea urchin population
2. Make the control area bigger
3. Protect the area with rules and regulations
4. Implement the submarine video conference system
5. Create the SeaLab logistic base (a platform located in the center of the bay with transparent floor where the children can go and watch the different species)

 

What are some of your long term goals to accomplish in the next 5-10 years?
1. Prepare a system in a way that university students can work with us.
2. Make better school programs related to diving
3. Bring closer the diving to organizations with handicapped people.
4. Extrapolate the project to the area defined between El Puertito of Adeje and La Caleta de Adeje , achieving the first marine area with particular land stewardship in Spain with sustainable tourism management

 

How can others help you accomplish these goals?
Coming to Tenerife to dive with us and get inspired by El Puertito´s wildlife so they can talk to other people about the importance of respecting and protecting our oceans.

 

What have been some successes you have had?
1. We recovered the ecosystem, making it one of the most popular dive sites in the islands.
2. We collaborate with many local schools and Oxford University came to visit us to know more about our project
3. We´ve done conferences at WILD10 and TEDxTalks.
4. Our presence for two years in the Global Action Atlas with National Geographic

 

What are some lessons you have learned/what would you have done differently?
You can recover an entire ecosystem by removing sea urchins (Diadema antillarum) (We were not sure about this at the beginning).  I also learned that making changes in the right direction will lead us to get great results in our efforts to regain our planet. We should encourage the growth of small projects because they are the ones who get great results.

We eventually want to create a SeaLab logistic base (a platform located in the center of the bay with transparent floor where the children can go and watch the different species).

If you push through the hard times, you will reach your goals!

If you are passionate about something, do it. Your project will be a success if you really love what you are doing.