The Gibraltar Government is planning to attract more travellers to the island by regulating scuba diving and providing tighter controls over divers while establishing new artificial reefs and wreck sites to encourage tourists to enjoy scuba diving holidays in the region.
The government’s plans to regulate scuba diving in Gibraltar will be put in place to strengthen the sport’s potential for tourists on scuba diving holidays and promote it towards local residents as a leisure activity.
To help the island become a premier destination for scuba diving holidays, a series of projects are in the pipeline to create diving areas exclusively for divers and prohibit fishing and boating activities.
As well as regulating the watersport, the government are hoping to establish tighter control over fishing and boating in the Gibraltar waters.
The plans to offer regulated scuba diving holidays, artificial reefs and wreck sites were outlined in a consultation document last week.
The document stated: “The Government believes that scuba diving has a much greater potential for touristic economic exploitation in Gibraltar than has hitherto been the case.
“In order to achieve this, safely and in a way which is respectful of the environment and of our marine heritage, the government proposes to regulate scuba diving and to provide infrastructure to promote and support it as both a leisure activity for locals and a touristic and commercial activity for visitors.”
The document proposes that designated Areas of Special Interest are also provided for scuba diving activities with tight controls and prohibits boating except for when it is diving related.
“To ensure safety in recreational diving and also to protect the environment and under water heritage, it is proposed that all diving within an ASIS must be organised, managed, guided and conducted under the auspices of either a locally registered dive club or a locally licensed commercial Recreational Diving Services Provider,” the consultation paper states.
“It is proposed that the [legislation] will permit qualified divers to dive freelance’ outside an ASIS in Gibraltar territorial waters.”
The government proposes to establish a “Diving Hub” where clubs and commercial companies can offer dive shops and facilities to visitors enjoying scuba diving holidays and activities, and clientele within an coordinated industry centre which will feature dive boat mooring, lecture facilities, and air compressors, and 24/7 recompression chamber.