DEMA: Dredging Could Devastate Bimini’s Dive Industry (The Bahamas)

Top reputation among divers could be ruined by possible environmental degradation associated with the Resorts World Bimini pier terminal project, the California-based Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) said.

As a hotly-opposed dredging operation got underway off the coast of Bimini last week despite legal challenge, a global non-profit warned that the associated environmental degradation could destroy the island’s extremely lucrative dive industry.

Tom Ingram, executive director of DEMA, said the dredging of 220,000 cubic yards of seafloor at the heart of Bimini’s pristine reef system to accommodate a resort’s cruise ship ferry could ruin what is a “recreational diving jewel” of The Bahamas.

He strongly urged the government to look carefully at the project before allowing it to move forward, even as a 450-foot mammoth dredger began to excavate the seafloor last week.

A very real concern to DEMA and to all diving businesses, especially those based in nearby Florida , is the fact that any environmental degradation, especially of the magnitude being described in the North Bimini Ferry Terminal Project EIA and its addendum, is likely to have a negative impact on the perception of pristine diving which Bimini now holds in the minds of diving consumers,” Ingram said.

“As a result of this project, it is possible that the number of divers visiting Bimini will decline dramatically as public perception develops regarding this project’s potential environmental impact.”

Press Release, May 19, 2014

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