Deep divers document threatened Amazon Reef

By agency reporter
September 23, 2019

Six professional deep divers have successfully completed the first ever dives to document the recently revealed Amazon Reef through high resolution images while collecting biological samples in order to better understand the threatened ecosystem off the coast of French Guiana.

The region is under threat from oil drilling and new Greenpeace Brazil analysis shows that burning all oil reserves in the region is equivalent to eight years worth of Amazon rainforest deforestation. Oil companies like BP, and the Brazilian Government are interested in opening this region to oil exploration projects. This is a threat to this ecosystem and to the climate. According to estimates by the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP), the bottom of the sea near the Amazon Reef in Brazil may contain 14 billion barrels of oil , the equivalent of 5.2 Gt of CO2.

Alexis Rosenfeld, deep diver and photographer, said: “These dives are particularly challenging: the water is loaded with sediments from the Amazon river, currents are very strong and we have no visibility when we start descending. But it’s totally worth it when the halo of my light beams reveals the Amazon Reef. This is a haven of life, a treasure of biodiversity explored for the first time by humans and whose mystery is only just being revealed.”

François Chartier of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, said:  “We’re in a climate emergency: we just can’t afford to drill and burn more oil. As a comparison, even if deforestation in the Amazon forest ended tomorrow, if we burn the estimated reserves of the Amazon Reef region, it would be the same as continuing to deforest the Amazon for another eight years.

“Next week, the UN will release a major report on climate and the oceans. It’s clear that the climate crisis is also an ocean crisis. Healthy oceans are critical in tackling climate change, and drilling for oil here could be ruinous for both our oceans and for our climate.”

It is critical to protect at least 30 per cent of the oceans, from the coastal areas to the high sea to save the climate and stop biodiversity loss. Governments must act with urgency to protect our oceans and agree a strong Global Ocean Treaty in 2020, says Greenpeace International.

* See the images here

* Greenpeace International https://www.greenpeace.org/international/

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