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Marine Life & Conservation

12 steps to being an eco diver

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For most divers, I think we feel pretty privileged to get to see and enjoy the amazing underwater world. As the plight of our oceans and coral reefs becomes more prominent in the news and on social media, often divers find ourselves probably a bit more aware of the value of the life beneath the waves and the issues affecting it. Therefore, it can be quite distressing when we learn that not all of the negative impacts on coral reefs are from large scale human impacts like climate change and overfishing, but that in some areas, lots of damage comes directly from divers and diving tourism, particularly in those areas that experience a high density of divers year round.

So, how do we divers, who love our sport and the underwater world, overcome the negative impacts and turn our actions into positives?

Here’s a list of 12 easy things we can do to minimise our impact:

1. Be choosy about your dive centre

There are lots of dive centres out there going above and beyond to be green, teaching and supporting good dive practices and minimise their environmental impact. A little research before hand and you can find centres that give marine biology talks, do beach cleans and work on an environmentally-friendly basis. Generally I find I have a better time and get more from holidays like this. The Green Fins website is pretty helpful.

2. Buoyancy


Buoyancy is massively important for both enjoying the dive, improving air consumption and also not trashing the environment you are diving in. Practice makes perfect, so you are never too good to try and improve; skills get rusty after a break even for experienced divers. There are lots of places offering courses specifically designed to improve buoyancy, so it’s a great excuse for more diving!

3. Do not touch anything

There may be an odd occasion you need to hold onto a rock if you’ve just run into a strong current or use a finger to stabilise yourself for a moment in an emergency. If you can pick a bit of rock without growth or a bit of dead coral to hold onto, this is best.

However if you are regularly holding onto stuff or bouncing off the bottom, then it’s time to go back to basics and get your buoyancy under control. If not for the sake of the environment, but yourself, particularly when you realise you just grabbed hold of a stonefish…

4. Reef safe sun screen


On a tropical dive holiday, chances are you will be using sunscreen to avoid sunburn and the associated health risks and pain that come with it. Many sunscreens contain oxybenzone, which is very bad news for reefs, as it kills coral. Since we know we will be in the water and some of the sunscreen will be washed off, by using a reef safe sunscreen, we ensure our diving activity doesn’t pollute the water for the corals we are there to see! For a list of Reef Safe Sunscreens click here! You could even forego the sunscreen entirely and wear a sun hat and UV-protective clothing instead.

5. Reusable water bottle

Keeping hydrated is a must in diving as hydrated divers are less likely to get the bends or suffer heat related issues in hot climates. By using a reusable water bottle, you can reduce the amount of single-use plastic entering the environment. Having your dive centre refill your own bottle it also often works our cheaper than buying bottled water from the shops.

6. Do not tip bad guiding

If your dive guide moved that frogfish/seahorse for you to get a photo, ask them not to touch or move anything. A photo is never worth killing something by stressing it out. If they guided you deeper than the original dive plan to show you something, or deeper than you are qualified/ comfortable going, ask to stick to the dive plan next time. Plan the dive, dive the plan. Ultimately you are responsible for your dive and your safety. Guides do what they think will make customers happy because happy divers tip. If your guide is acting like a cowboy, it’s probably because previous divers have rewarded this behaviour.

7. If you are a photographer, remember your surroundings


Never move anything, try not to touch coral or lie on the bottom. If you need to hold onto something to get your photo, then it’s back to work on your buoyancy before going in the water with a camera! Often taking a few well planned shots is best. Many creatures, such as seahorses are sensitive to light, so taking a few good photos and moving on ensures they are not permanently blinded by multiple strobe flashes. Also spare a thought for others in the dive group, by sharing the view of a nice critter, it reduces the likelihood of lots of divers crowding one spot and inevitably someone kicking something, causing damage and kicking up sand and silt.

8. Use spit, rather than washing up liquid or shampoo


There are a few biodegradable defog options out there for anyone who’s spit is not very effective at keeping their mask fog free, but for the majority of people spit works really well! It’s free, it doesn’t need time to break down to do no harm to the environment and you always have it with you!

9. Get involved in reef surveys or clean-ups


One of the absolute best ways to be sure you are having a positive impact is to give up some of your time to help clean up an area. Many dive centres and organisations will very gladly accept your help on a local beach clean or dive clean up. If you know your fish and coral you can also help by taking part in reef surveys, such as Seasearch, REEF, Reef Check or Coral Watch. Many eco dive centres teach these courses if you would like to hone your underwater ID skills and help gather data for science and conservation.

10. Think about your impact on land

Even though many of us wish we could live underwater sometimes, we do spend the majority of time on land and here we can make a huge difference that will help all environments and our oceans. We can reduce our dependence on single – use plastics that may end up in the ocean, by using reusable water bottles, coffee cups, straws and bags made from recyclable plastics or even better, alternatives like bamboo. Also, have a think about where you stay when on dive holidays, does the hotel try to avoid single use plastics? Do they recycle? What happens to the waste water? Again, with a little research good, affordable eco options can be found for accommodation. It’s always good to know you won’t be diving in water that your waste is going into!

11. Support initiatives to clean up the oceans

There are many great organisations out there attempting to make a difference. We can join charities like Marine Conservation Society, or buy products from clean up programmes. Fourth Element have a new swimwear range made from ghost netting and there are some very good looking flip flops made from recycled ocean plastics. New things are coming on the market all the time, they look good and are a great example of reusing and recycling. Have a search for what is going on near you and how you can support the movement.

12. Try not to eat the seafood you have just been diving with! (The invasive Caribbean lionfish aside).

If you were wondering why there weren’t as many fish as the last time you dived here, and you then go and order a reef fish for lunch at the hotel…you may have found your answer! For a guide on what is sustainable on most menu’s and what to avoid click here. For recipes for cooking the delicious and invasive Caribbean Lionfish, click here!


For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

CJ and Mike are dive instructors who have travelled all over the world pursuing their passion for the underwater world. CJ is a PADI MI and DSAT Trimix instructor with a degree in Conservation biology and ecology, who has been diving for 15 years. She loves looking for critters and pointing them out for Mike to photograph. Mike is a PADI MSDT who got back into diving in 2010. He enjoys practicing underwater photography and exploring new and exciting dive locales, occasionally with more than one tank. Follow more of their diving adventures at www.bimbleintheblue.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

Exhibition: Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research

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From now until 30 October, the photo exhibition “Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research” features 21 photographs at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, as well as a digital edition.

Exceptional photographs highlight how innovative marine experts and scientists take the pulse of the ocean by exploring ecosystems, studying the movement of species, or revealing the hidden biodiversity of coral reefs. Scientific discoveries are more important than ever for the protection and sustainable conservation of our Marine World Heritage. This memorable exhibition comes ahead of the launch, in 2021, of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (“Ocean Decade”). The exhibition was jointly developed by UNESCO and the Principality of Monaco.

The 50 marine sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, distributed across 37 countries, include a wide variety of habitats as well as rare marine life still largely unknown. Renowned for their unmatched beauty and emblematic biodiversity, these exceptional ecosystems play a leading role in the field of marine conservation. Through scientific field research and innovation, concrete actions to foster global preservation of the ocean are being implemented locally in these unique natural sites all over the world. They are true symbols of hope in a changing ocean.

Since 2017, the Principality of Monaco supports UNESCO to strengthen conservation and scientific understanding of the marine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. This strategic partnership allows local management teams to benefit from the results obtained during the scientific missions of Monaco Explorations. The partnership also draws international attention to the conservation challenges facing the world’s most iconic ocean sites.

The exhibition invites viewers to take a passionate dive into the heart of the scientific missions led by Monaco Explorations in four marine World Heritage sites: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia), Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (Palau), and the Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France). It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a megafauna census; the study of the resilience of coral reefs and their adaptation in a changing climate; the exploration of the deep sea; and the monitoring of large marine predators through satellite data.

To visit the Digital Exhibition click here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Inspiring Hope For Coral Reefs: a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.


Inspiring Hope For Coral Reefs: a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”.

This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Ken Nedimyer, a CNN Hero for “Defending The Planet”.

It’s a story about a former commercial fisherman who proactively worked with state and federal groups to ensure a sustainable future.

His observations about reefs in jeopardy led to possible ways to save them. He became an innovative coral reef advocate and coral reef nursery innovator, not only in the Florida Keys but around the globe.

Ken moved to Florida as a boy, he fell in love with the ocean and its many creatures. After earning his degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University, he headed south to the Keys and never looked back.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

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