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A tide of change

Updated: 2022-12-24 10:40 ( China Daily )
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Shen checks on coral reefs. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Biodiversity survey

Shen has made a point of advocating ocean science popularization.

In 2017, volunteers from the organization staged a marathon where they wore coral reef-shaped headdresses and carried bags made of fishing nets to pick up trash along the way. The event was aimed to increase public awareness of their cause.

In 2018, Shen built a library on ocean culture.

"It's more about sorting out knowledge, and is complementary to the practical operations at Dive For Love," Shen says.

Shen and his team would share their findings on biodiversity at the library to appeal to the public.

"The biodiversity survey is mostly done at night, when the active creatures were different from their counterparts in the daytime," Shen explains.

They record their nocturnal diving experiences and edit them into short videos before putting them on the social media of the library.

The library has been a popular summer camp spot for young people, especially local primary school pupils.

Huang Yu joined Dive For Love in 2016 and she managed to take photos of hermatypic coral — a species under state second class protection — spawning multiple times, which has contributed to local coral archives.

"When the coral was spawning, it was like a powder snow in the sea, very beautiful," Huang says.

She put more efforts into popularizing coral protection after she saw how the sea creature was injured by fishing nets. "You feel like your own child is being amputated," she says.

Huang has also given livestream broadcast on explaining coral spawning, which received more than 2.9 million views from multiple social media accounts.

In recent years, the marine ecology of the Dapeng Peninsula has improved greatly due to the annual fishing moratorium, improved legal system, enhanced publicity on coral protection, and ongoing coral restoration and planting.

Shen (left) seen sampling marine environmental DNA with a partner off the Dapeng Bay. [Photo provided to China Daily]

It is worth mentioning that the southwest end of the peninsula has a concentration of 47 species of hexacorallia, where a national marine park is being planned to better protect them.

"Such a prospect is worth looking forward to," Shen says.

Speaking about his future plans, Shen says he will keep on pushing forward his cause.

"Things happening at sea still get less attention compared with those on land," he says.

As things are resuming to normal state after three years of the pandemic, Shen is looking forward to stepping up cooperation with related parties in Indonesia and the Philippines.

"I believe more exchange programs will reach more people in the cause of ocean protection and help them appreciate the charm of the sea," Shen says.

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