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Blue Ocean Business Summit Highlights



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

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

Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK land the prize catch at the Fishing News Awards



The charity Ghost Fishing UK was stunned to win the Sustainability Award.

The winners were selected by a panel of industry judges and the award recognises innovation and achievement in improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the UK or Irish fishing industries in 2021.

Nominees must have demonstrated a unique and innovative response to an environmental sustainability issue within the UK or Irish industry, demonstrating that the project has gone above and beyond standard practice, and provided evidence of its impact. The judges look particularly for projects that have influenced a significant change in behaviour and/or that have inspired broader awareness and/or engagement.

Ghost Fishing UK originated in 2015, training voluntary scuba divers to survey and recover lost fishing gear, with the aim to either return it to the fishing industry or recycle it. The charity is run entirely by volunteers and has gone from strength to strength, only last year winning the Best Plastic Campaign at the Plastic Free Awards.

Now, the charity has also been recognised at seemingly the opposite end of the spectrum. This is a unique achievement as trustee Christine Grosart explains;

We have always held the belief that working with the fishing industry is far more productive than being against it, in terms of achieving our goals to reduce and remove lost fishing gear.

The positive response to our fisheries reporting system that we received from both the fishing industry and the marine environment sector, was evidence that working together delivers results.

The feedback we got from the awards evening and the two-day Scottish Skipper Expo where we had an exhibit the following day, was that the fishing industry despises lost fishing gear as much as we do and the fishers here are very rarely at fault. It is costly to them to lose gear and they will make every effort to get it back, but sometimes they can’t. That is where we come in, to try to help. Everyone wins, most of all the environment. You can’t ask for much more.”

Following the awards, Ghost Fishing UK held an exhibit at the Scottish Skipper expo at the new P&J Live exhibition centre in Aberdeen.

This gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet so many people in the fishing industry, all of whom were highly supportive of our work and wanted to help us in any way they could. This has opened so many opportunities for the charity and our wish list which has been on the slow burner for the last 7 years, was exceeded in just 3 days. We came away from the events exhausted, elated, humbled, grateful and most of all, excited.”

Trustee and Operations Officer, Fred Nunn, is in charge of the diving logistics such as arranging boats and organising the divers, who the charity trains in house, to give up their free time to volunteer.

He drove from Cornwall to attend the awards and the exhibition: “What a crazy and amazing few days up in Scotland! It was awesome to meet such a variety of different people throughout the industry, who are all looking at different ways of improving the sustainability and reduction of the environmental impact of the fishing industry.

It was exciting to have so many people from the fishing industry approaching us to find out more about what we do, but also what they could offer. Fishermen came to us with reports and offers of help, using their vessels and other exhibitors tried to find ways that their product or service could assist in our mission.”

  • Ghost Fishing UK uses hard boat charters from Cornwall to Scotland for the diving projects, paying it forward to the diving community.
  • The charity relies on reports of lost fishing gear from the diving and fishing community and to date has received well over 200 reports, culminating on over 150 survey and ghost gear recovery dives, amounting to over 1000 individual dives and diver hours by the volunteer team members.
  • You can find more information at
  • If you are a fisher who knows of any lost fishing gear, you can report it to the charity here:
  • The charity is heading to Shetland for a week-long project in the summer of 2023. If you would like to support this project, please contact them at:

Chair of Ghost Fishing UK and professional technical diving instructor Dr Richard Walker was immensely proud of the team’s achievements;

I’ve been a scuba diver since 1991 and have met thousands of divers in that time. I’d be hard pushed to think of one of them that wasn’t concerned about conservation of our marine environment. To be recognised by the fishing industry for our efforts in sustainability is a huge honour for us, and has encouraged our team to work even harder to find, survey and remove lost fishing gear from the seas. The fact that the fishing industry recognises our efforts, and appreciates our stance as a group that wants to work alongside them is one of the highlights of our charity’s history, and we look forward to building the relationship further.

To find out more about Ghost Fishing UK visit their website here.

All images: Ghost Fishing UK

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Marine Life & Conservation

Komodo National Park found to be Manta Hotspot



Through a collaborative effort between citizen divers, scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), and Murdoch University, a new study reports a large number of manta rays in the waters of Komodo National Park, Indonesian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, suggesting the area may hold the key to regional recovery of the threatened species.

Reef mantas (Mobula alfredi), which grow up to 5m, tend to reside and feed in shallow, coastal habitats. They also visit ‘cleaning stations’ on coral reefs to have parasites, or dead skin picked off by small fish. Courtship ‘trains’ are also observed adjacent to cleaning stations. In Komodo National Park, manta rays are present year-round, challenging the famous Komodo dragon as the most sought-after megafauna for visitors.

Scientists teamed up with the dive operator community to source identification photographs of manta rays visiting the parks’ waters and submit them to – a crowdsourced online database for mantas and other rays. Most of the photographs came from just four locations from over 20 commonly visited by tourism boats.

I was amazed by how receptive the local dive community was in helping collect much-needed data on these threatened animals,” said lead author Dr. Elitza Germanov. “With their support, we were able to identify over 1,000 individual manta rays from over 4,000 photographs.

People love manta rays—they are one of the most iconic animals in our oceans. The rise of the number of people engaging in SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and the advent of affordable underwater cameras meant that photos and videos taken by the public during their holidays could be used to quickly and affordably scale data collection,” said MMF co-founder and study co-author Dr. Andrea Marshall.

The photographs’ accompanying time and location data is used to construct sighting histories of individual manta rays, which can then be analyzed with statistical movement models. These models predict the likelihood that manta rays are inhabiting or traveling in between specific sites. The study’s results showed that some manta rays moved around the park and others as far as the Nusa Penida MPA (>450 km to the west), but overall, manta rays showed individual preferences for specific sites within the Park.

I found it very interesting how some manta rays appear to prefer spending their time in some sites more than others, even when sites are 5 km apart, which are short distances for manta rays,” said Dr. Elitza Germanov. “This means that manta rays which prefer sites where fishing activities continue to occur or that are more popular with tourism will endure greater impacts.”

Fishing activities have been prohibited in many coastal areas within Komodo NP since 1984, offering some protection to manta rays prior to the 2014 nationwide protection. However, due to illegal fishing activity and manta ray movements into heavily fished waters, manta rays continue to face a number of threats from fisheries. About 5% of Komodo’s manta rays have permanent injuries that are likely the result of encounters with fishing gear.

The popularity of tourism to these sites grew by 34% during the course of the study. An increase in human activity can negatively impact manta rays and their habitats. In 2019, the Komodo National Park Authority introduced limits on the number of boats and people that visit one of the most famous manta sites.

This study shows that the places where tourists commonly observe manta rays are important for the animals to feed, clean, and mate. This means that the Komodo National Park should create measures to limit the disturbance at these sites,” said Mr. Ande Kefi, an employee of the Komodo National Park involved with this study. “I hope that this study will encourage tourism operators to understand the need for the regulations already imposed and increase compliance.”

Despite Indonesia’s history with intensive manta ray fisheries, Komodo National Park still retains large manta ray aggregations that with careful ongoing management and threat reduction will benefit regional manta ray populations. The study highlights that marine protected areas that are large enough to host important manta ray habitats are a beneficial tool for manta ray conservation.

For more information about MMF visit their website here.

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A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

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