SCUBA diving in the Galápagos Islands : a study of diving safety with recommendations
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The marine environment surrounding Ecuador's Galapagos Islands consists of diverse ecosystems populated by a rich and varied array of organisms. A growing awareness of the unique attributes and scientific importance of this marine resource has spurred increases in scientific research, prompted the Government of Ecuador to establish a marine reserve within the islands and enabled tourist companies to attract recreational divers. The first section of this report summarizes the development and status of diving within the islands. Special attention is paid to the tourist industry which is responsible for promoting and overseeing most of the diving activities in the islands. The second section presents suggestions to strengthen diver and environmental protection. Specific topics addressed include: a brief description of diving conditions and the recommended levels of diving skill, qualifications and training of naturalist diving guides, a discussion of medical treatment available within the islands, a description of facilities for hyperbaric treatment of diving injuries along with their locations a·nd evacuation procedures.