Assessing the land- and seascape determinants of recreational diving: Evidence for Portugal's south coast

Mariana Cardoso-Andrade, Frederico Cruz-Jesus, Francisco Castro Rego, Mafalda Rangel, Henrique Queiroga

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Scuba diving is one of the most popular coastal recreational activities, and one of the few that are allowed in multiple-use marine protected areas. Nevertheless, like many other coastal activities, if in excess, it may harm coastal ecosystems and their sustainable use. This paper focuses on the seascape and landscape characteristics that are most associated with the existence of dive sites, aiming to identify other suitable locations along the coast to potentially reduce environmental pressure (e.g., overcrowding and physical damage) on the existing dive sites. Logistic regressions were employed to model the suitability for dive sites existence in the Portuguese south coast (Algarve), one of the most popular Summer destinations in mainland Europe. Results suggest that closeness to waterlines and piers and the presence of rock structures in the coastal strip are the most important attributes that positively influence dive sites’ existence, whereas the beach environment and the presence of muddy sediments are negatively associated with it. In this study, we suggest the application of a logistic model to find alternatives for the explored dive sites as a quick and easily applied coastal management tool. Moreover, we find it useful for the implementation of coastal conservation strategies extended to other coastal activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104285
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Coastal zone
  • Marine coastal management
  • Marine conservation
  • Marine spatial planning
  • SCUBA diving


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