Monday 24. January 2011

Master's Thesis Presentations: Evaluating the feasibility of establishing a recreational diving sector

This week and next, students that are graduating from the Coastal and Marine Management program at the University Centre of the Westfjords will present and defend their master's theses. Four 30 ECTS credit theses will be presented and three 60 ECTS credit theses will be defended.

The first presentation will be on Monday January 24 at 17:00 at the University Centre. Alan Deverell will present his thesis Evaluating the feasibility of establishing a recreational diving sector in the Ísafjarðardjúp area of Iceland. Information about other presentations and defences can be found below and further information will be available on the University Centre website later.

Alans presentation is open and will be webcasted as well.

The instructor of the thesis is Dr. Marc L. Miller, professor at the University of Washington Seattle US. The external reader is Brad Barr, senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Director of the US National Marine Sanctuary Program.

One of the main goals of coastal zone management is to encourage the sustainable and integrated use of an area's natural resources. Some activities lend themselves more readily to these objectives than others. Marine based tourism is one of them, and in particular recreational diving, one of the world's fastest growing sports. The Westfjords of Iceland, with its unique coastline, rich biota and long maritime heritage, appears to have all the potential to be an excellent diving destination. Yet, it suffers from its remoteness, basic infrastructure and lack of tourism development . This thesis looks at the possibilities for establishing a thriving recreational diving sector in the area around Ísafjarðardjup that would provide a number of new opportunities for the tourist industry, as well as support for marine-based research and education. It proposes a development model based on close collaboration between these sectors and uses data from a number of surveys that provide information on visitor characteristics and preferences. The thesis concludes that while the establishment of a successful diving sector is possible, this will depend upon developing a clear and integrated tourism policy for the region and providing adequate support to the businesses and associations involved.

Alan, originally from England, resides in the South of France. He has an academic background in English Literature and Education as well as several years of management consulting experience. Alan will soon begin work as a project manager in the Congo, rehabilitating Upemba, one of the country's few national parks.

Schedule for presentations

January 28

Manuel Meidinger: A preliminary vulnerability assessment for Ísafjörður, Iceland: Coastal management-options to reduce impacts of sea-level rise and storm surges


February 1
Jonathan Eberlein: The Scarcity and Vulnerability of Surfing Recourses - An Analysis of the Value of Surfing from a Social Economic Perspective in Matosinhos, Portugal

Jamie Landry: Community-Based Coastal Resource Management as a Contributor to Sustainability-Seeking Communities: A Case Study for Ísafjörður, Iceland


February 2

Joshua Macintosh: Public Coastal Access in Nova Scotia's Coastal Strategy


February 3

Lindsay Church: A Case Study on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland: Is EarthCheck community standard an effective sustainable tourism marketing tool?