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Blue Ocean Business Summit Highlights

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The Blue Ocean Business Summit, a first-ever online industry gathering, took place June 2-6, 2014.  The new business event invited all stakeholders to the table to discuss the future of the dive industry and the imperative to bring the ocean into their businesses as a full partner.

During the online conference, Summit Host Laurie Wilson took attendees on a 5-day adventure along the path towards sustainability, introducing them to an eclectic cross section of the industry including dive retailers, travel pros, group leaders, resort and live-aboard operators, scientists, academics, community activists, photo-journalists, media representatives, and non-profit organizers. The event also attracted opening keynote Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind”, and closing keynote, Dr. Carl Safina, PBS TV Host of “Saving the Oceans.”

These trailblazers generously shared their challenges, lessons learned and best practices to successfully ride the big waves of change already happening in the industry. They provided a sense of support and community for those experiencing a rocky business environment, characterized by feelings of uncertainty, worry, overwhelm and lack of clear direction.

Big Ocean, Big Picture – The first day, entitled Big Ocean, Big Picture gave participants a powerful grounding in the new business imperative – the sustainable business model that incorporates a triple bottom line approach, recognizes all stakeholders and overcomes competitive conflicts through common ground collaboration.

Lightning Strikes – It was an ‘aha’ moment for some attendees, when the realization hit that the dive industry is actually a member of the marine tourism industry (and not vice versa) since most people learn to dive and buy gear to prepare for travel to dive destinations. One of the world’s largest industries, Tourism is under intense pressure to become sustainable because of the negative impacts it has on the environment and local communities.

Redefining the Dive Resort – The second day delved deep into the resort experience, to find out if tourists even know or care about sustainable tourism, and what successful resorts are doing to redefine themselves in light of the new blue business reality revealing itself right now.

Honest Talk About Marine Conservation – Ocean issues finally got their say, when day 3 dived into the heart of the matter that will make or break the dive industry. Participants learned exactly what is going on in the underwater world and how people, considered ‘lower tier’ stakeholders in the dive industry, are already on board as a powerful part of the solution.

Traveling Towards Sustainability – In Day 4, the discussion turned to underwater experiences, and where the dive industry sits in terms of eco-sensitive education and environmentally-friendly travel. The big key question was: What must we do to protect our businesses and grow the industry?  It became clear that the traditional dive business model is grossly inadequate to prepare us for the new business reality. And those who continue to follow it will pay a price.

Change Comes Through Action – Throughout the Summit, there was much talk about what business owners could do. On day 5, Summit participants learned from men and women of true action that talk is not enough. In fact, too much talk is stalling the process, by giving people a false sense of security that talking is actually doing something – when it’s clearly not. We are being called to action, but the good news is, action starts with baby steps. Many baby step options were provided throughout the Summit.

Community of Change-makers – Summit Host Laurie Wilson commented, “With this Summit we are creating a community of change-makers, who are tired and dissatisfied with the traditional ways that aren’t working. They love the underwater world, and they want to make a difference while making a good living. For them, it can no longer be business as usual.”

Wilson explained that successful dive business owners are deeply connected to “Why” they went into business in the first place, and are inspired by the positive impact they can bring to the world by running a financially profitable business. Says Wilson, “These are the makings of a sustainable business model that’s now finding its way into all forward-thinking industries.

“As H.G. Wells so famously said, ‘We must adapt or perish.’ It’s clear from Summit comments, that our online participants understand that sustainability is not an option, nor is eco-lipservice; and having that mindset has them riding on the leading edge in the new business reality.”

About the Summit – The Blue Ocean Business Summit 2014 brought together 21 thought leaders, trailblazers and action-oriented business people from seven countries who generously shared their in-the-trenches stories and hard-won knowledge with attendees during the free 5-day online gathering. Two hundred and sixty-four people participated in the password-protected Summit, while 1425 people followed the daily highlights on the Summit’s FaceBook page. After the Summit, on World Oceans Day June 8, Summit access was opened up all day for attendees to listen to all replays again for free.

Summit-To-Go – For those who missed the event or want to take a deeper dive, the Summit offers a downloadable Summit Resource Guide that contains valuable tools, checklists, background and reference material that can be referred to again and again. Access to audio replays of all 21 speakers is included in the purchase of the Summit Resource Guide, along with written highlights of each of the 20 sessions.  A portion of Resource Guide sales will support Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize project to create a system of marine protected areas around the world. The Blue Ocean Business Summit Resource Guide and audio replays will be available for US$79.99 at BlueOceanBusinessSummit.com.

First-Ever for the Industry – Creator of the Summit, Laurie Wilson commented, “There’s a reason why this was the first-ever online event for the dive industry. It was a huge undertaking with many moving parts, a smorgasbord of technological requirements, time zone considerations, internet issues and the ability to track down and engage an assortment of brilliant and busy people, many of whom are often on boats. And then we had to bring everyone up the online learning curve since very few people were familiar with the workings of an online Summit.

Wilson admits, “It turned into a bit of an octopus. There was intense research, multiple team collaborations, bringing on techno whizzes, changing platforms, long days, late nights, a large financial investment, a lot of faith, a lot of skype calls – and even more coffee. But now that we know how to do this, we’ll do it again. Perhaps via video, or maybe even a live in-person event. We’re looking at all the options. This is clearly an idea whose time has come. People are ready.”

For Summit details and downloadable Resource Guide visit BlueOceanBusinessSummit.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support

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With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.

The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.

Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.

While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”

There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.

This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.

Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.

Click here to sign the Big Shark Pledge

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Jeff chats to… Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Craig is a Key Grip and Lighting Director with 10,000s of hours of Set Experience.

In Craig’s own words:

I started my career when I was in my first year of college.  I always had that creative side of the brain that needed to be followed as a career.  I thought that would be in designing engineering pieces but wasn’t happy about the idea of an office cubicle and drafting table.

I accidentally found my way onto a big commercial job for a week and decided “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO”.   I made it my career after that. This is a quick list of recent and big projects in my 35 yrs of TV / Film / Photography.

Most Recently:

  • “Black Panther 2” – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Stranger Things” Season 4 – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Suicide Squad 2” – UW Gaffer / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • NASCAR / FOX Sports 1 – Network TV Lighting Director – 7 years / 700 races of Live BIG track TV shows
  • 10,000s of commercials / music videos / tv shows

I started diving when I was 18 years old with my OW and then AOW with PADI. I was diving with lots of friends in the late 80s and early 90s and then moved onto Kayaking. I got my daughter into diving when she turned 14 and have picked up where I left off.

I have approx 5000 dives now and spend most of my free time diving.

Here are my certs:

  • OW – AOW 1989
  • Adv Nitrox / Deco 2020
  • Cavern – Intro Cave 2021
  • CCR Tech – Fathom – 2021

You can find out more at www.craigwaller.com


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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