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The Blue Ocean Business Summit Starts Today

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The Blue Ocean Business Summit, a free online virtual event where award-winning scientists, divers, photographers, authors, academics, dive travel experts, resorts, conservationists and instructors can converge to share their expertise, experience, insight and practical wisdom on riding the waves of change in the dive industry has kicked off today – and you are invited!

An undeniable shift has occurred in the dive industry in recent times, and the effects of that shift have had an impact on thousands of dive business. Some businesses are struggling financially, others are concerned with the future value of their investment and some are uncomfortable watching the decline of their favorite dive sites and want to take action.

The Blue Ocean Business Summit aims to get to the bottom of these kinds of issues.

For the first time, the Blue Ocean Business Summit will be speaking with some of the dive and travel industry’s pioneers and trailblazers who are already embracing the change and are making advancements in game-changing ways. They will be sharing their insights, tools and strategies to help give you direction, show you hidden opportunities, shift your mindset and focus on big ideas that work and which could be of great benefit to your business.

The interviews will be recorded if you can’t make the time — with access to each speaker’s interview recording free of charge for 24 hours.

Here is the Summit’s programme:

Day 1—Big Ocean, Big Picture

Monday June 2, 2014

9:00 am EDT

Charting the Course

Laurie J. Wilson, MBA CMC

Founder, Dive Travel Resource Group

Your host and navigator for this Summit, Laurie Wilson is on a mission to help dive businesses ride the big waves of change coming at our industry. A speaker, author, seminar leader and marketing consultant, Laurie founded the Dive Travel Resource Group in 1993. She’s created trade seminars for DEMA Asia, ADEC, ASTA, PATA, the Adventure Travel Expo, regional dive shows, and tourism departments and produced a decade of Dive Travel Conferences. Laurie has introduced eco-friendly dive travel to more than 12,000 trade pros. She’s worked with REEF, NOAA and National Geographic to publicize marine conservation to a broader audience. Laurie was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2001, and received the Platinum Pro 5000 Award in 2013. Laurie holds an honors degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management, a Masters in Business Administration and is a Certified Management Consultant.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Why we are doing the Blue Ocean Business Summit in the first place
  2. How the Summit week will flow along with key themes and Summit highlights.
  3. What we are doing that stops our success and the shifts we will make to create a healthy business and planet

11:00 am EDT

This is your mind on water: How neuroscience research is showing that we’ve been ALL WRONG about spreading the ocean conservation message.

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols

Scientist, Activist, Community Organizer

Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad who works to inspire a deeper connection with nature.

He is a research associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of OceanRevolution.org, SEEtheWILD.org, GrupoTortuguero.org, and LiVBLUE.org, and is the author of “Blue Mind” (Little, Brown & Co). Nichols has a master’s in environmental economics, and a doctorate in wildlife ecology. He is a recipient of both a Marshall Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship and in 2014 received The University of Arizona’s Global Achievement Award. www.wallacejnichols.org

What you’ll discover:

  1. Our oceans and waterways provide vast cognitive and emotional benefits and services (i.e., Blue Mind) that are poorly understood, notably unvalued, largely unquantified, rarely discussed among the conservation community, and therefore at risk of being lost. These valuable benefits include: awe and wonder, cognition and memory, creativity and innovation, exercise and mental health, sociality and relationships, and solitude and privacy.
  2. Using new technologies, collaborations with psychologists and neuroscientists to study these aspects of our water planet are helping to us better understand ourselves and our need for healthy waters beyond extractive and consumptive uses. Expanding Blue Mind research and communication will significantly increase the perceived value of healthy oceans and waterways, and enhance personal and political motivation to protect and restore.
  3. Some of the sectors most likely to be influenced by Blue Mind include: Health and Well-being, Education and Parenting, Arts Design and Architecture, Real Estate and Planning, Travel and Leisure, and Sports and Recreation.

 

1:00 pm EDT

Sustainable Business – What is it and why should I care?

Dr. Brian Garrod

Aberystwyth University

Brian Garrod is Professor of Tourism Management at the School of Business and Management, Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. He is the co-author of seven books, including “Marine Ecotourism: Issues and Experiences” and “New Frontiers in Marine Tourism: Diving Experiences, Sustainability, Management”.

He has a long-standing interest in the principles and practices of sustainable business, particularly in the context of marine tourism. Currently, Brian is working with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre on a project concerned with mediation in dolphin-watching activities, and he sits on the committee of the Dyfi Biosphere Tourism Association.

What you’ll discover:

  1. The sustainable business model isn’t just a fad. It is rapidly becoming an essential pre-requisite for commercial success, both in the short-term and in the long-term.
  2. The dive industry cannot afford to overlook the opportunity to make itself more sustainable.
  3. There is a minefield of terms and concepts to grapple with, and a raft of tools available to help you to implement a sustainable business model, but there is also a great deal of help available to guide you through it all.

 

3:00 pm EDT

Stakeholders in the dive industry

Dr. Carl Cater

Aberystwyth  University

Carl Cater is a Senior Lecturer in tourism at Aberystwyth University, Wales and his research focuses on the experiential turn in tourism and the subsequent growth of special interest sectors, particularly adventure tourism and ecotourism.

Dr. Cater is co-author of “Marine Ecotourism: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” (CABI, 2007) and the “Encyclopaedia of Sustainable Tourism” (CABI, 2014), and is an editorial board member of Tourism Geographies, Journal of Ecotourism and Tourism in Marine Environments.

What you’ll discover:

  1. The importance of involving local communities in the dive industry as employees and advocates.
  2. Why we need to focus on long-term dive destination sustainability.
  3. The role of divers as advocates of marine health and ocean literacy (EU concept).

 

Day 2—Rethinking the Dive Resort

Tuesday June 3, 2014

9:00 am EDT

Sustainable Travel: Does the Tourist Care?

Dr. Rachel Dodds

Ted Rogers

School of Hospitality & Tourism Management (Ryerson University) Director/Owner, Sustaining Tourism

Dr. Rachel Dodds is a specialist in the field of sustainable tourism who has over 25 years of experience within the tourism sector. Rachel has provided consultancy and business advice and research to government bodies, charities, NGOs, and private sector organizations worldwide. She has worked on a number of projects in sustainable tourism, climate change, eco/adventure tourism, research and marketing. She has worked for governments, non profits, private sector and individuals.

Rachel is also the co-author of “Sustainable Tourism in Island Destinations” as well as has publications in refereed journals, books and online. She is passionate about change and making travel more sustainable. She has lived and worked in four continents and visited over 78 countries.

What you’ll discover:

  1. There is research from a number of studies that indicate tourists are looking for more sustainable travel and are willing to pay extra for it, however, there is a disconnect as it is often difficult for travelers to find more sustainable travel options.
  2. Travelers often assume that businesses and governments are following sustainable practices to preserve their cultures and resources. Tourists expect sustainability practices even if it may not be the primary reason for choosing an operator or establishment.
  3. There are increasingly good examples of businesses who are being more sustainable but often those who are doing the most “greening” often don’t promote it while current travel search engines often “greenwash” as they promote hotels that may not be doing much. For example it is difficult for the consumer to search for green or sustainable hotels and even more difficult to find detailed information about sustainability practices.

11:00 am EDT

Wakatobi: How a remote dive operation in Sulawesi became an award-winning destination and model for sustainability

Henrik Rosen

Wakatobi

Having joined very early on to assist with setting up the physical plant at the resort, Henrik spent over a decade bringing Wakatobi from an unknown entity into one of the world’s most well-known dive resorts.

He is a frequent speaker on destination marketing and environmental issues. “What is most satisfactory about what we have accomplished with Wakatobi s is the way we have shown that businesses can accomplish great things not only for their customers but also for the environment. At Wakatobi I feel that we are in a “for-everyone’s-profit business.”

What you’ll discover:

  1. What is the process for sustainability? Walking through the 3 P’s.
  2. Can sustainable be affordable?
  3. The house reef at Wakatobi is better now than when it was 15 years ago and has its own marine park. Find out how The Collaborative Reef Conservation Program came into being.

 

1:00 pm EDT

From a 50’s fishing club to a green globe resort: How to take on Sustainability certification for your operation when the task looks daunting.

Jennifer Mills, Neil van Niekerk

SOUTHERN CROSS CLUB, Little Cayman

The casually sophisticated Southern Cross Club Fish & Dive Resort is Little Cayman’s original resort.

The SCC is dedicated to ensuring the preservation and enhancement of the marine and terrestrial environments for the use of its guests, residents of the island and future generations, and became Green Globe Certified in 2010. The resort was the proud recipient of the inaugural CEPTS Environmental Stewardship Award at the Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards in 2013. The Stingray Award is the highest honor bestowed by CITA on organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Cayman tourism.

What you’ll discover:

  1. What is your vision?
  2. Who is going to stick-handle the certification process and is it worthwhile?
  3. Who is your on-the-ground guy to make the connections to go green?

 

3:00 pm EDT

How to create a resort experience divers will pay to protect

Dana Krauskopf

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

Dana Krauskopf is the Founder and Owner of Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, an award-winning boutique eco resort in Belize.

Dana and her husband, David, love travel and in the 1990s quit their professional jobs in Chicago and moved to Eastern Europe. Seven years and three countries later, after working in marketing, travel and for UNESCO,

Dana with David took on creating their dream of a high end, high service hotel.

From the start, they developed their 31 acres of coastal forest with the environment and local people in mind. Hamanasi became Green Globe certified in 2010. Dana has served on various boards, including Belize Hotel Association, Friends of Nature (now SEA), Belize Eco Tourism Association and United Way.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Who buys an eco-conscious dive vacation? Do divers need to be trained to buy it?
  2. What should a group leader or travel seller look for in an eco-conscious resort?
  3. How to create a conservation message without “greenwashing”.

 

Day 3—Honest Talk About Marine Conservation

Wednesday June 4, 2014

9:00 am EDT

Can I be an ocean activist and run a successful business?

Michael AW

Author, Explorer, Photographer, Conservationist

Michael AW PhD is an author, explorer, photographer and conservationist, receiving more than 63 international awards and named one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography.

In 2008, he received the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award by Sharks Research Institute in recognition of his campaign against shark fin soup consumption in the Asia Pacific region. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious WYLAND ICON for Conservation. Michael has authored 31 books including “Elysium Shackleton Antarctic Visual Epic” and is a Senior Fellow of International League of Conservation Photographers.

What you’ll discover:

  1. How the Asian dive market differs from the Western dive market and why that difference is so important for business, conservation and society.
  2. How to activate your customers and readers to become change agents for good.
  3. Why a personal mission so important to profits and business success.

 

11:00 am EDT

Guiding Sustainable Group Trips – Pros, Cons and Caveats

Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock

Award-Winner  Photojournalists

Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock are award-winning photojournalists who specialize in documenting tropical marine life and pioneering remote dive destinations. They are veteran dive group leaders who’ve led multiple trips to remote and sensitive areas such as Sipadan, Komodo Island, the Solomon Islands and Raja Ampat.

Together they have published two popular guidebooks to the world’s richest reefs, Diving Indonesia’s Raja Ampat and Diving Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape, which have promoted sustainable marine tourism as one way to preserve these regions.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Tourism can positively and negatively affect a community’s use and respect for its natural resources.
  2. Specific benefits and disadvantages of promoting marine tourism to local communities.
  3. How tourism can help combat some threats to the marine environment including ocean acidification and warming.

 

1:00 pm EDT

Why Coral Reefs are one of the most valuable ocean assets

Douglas Fenner

Consultant

Doug received his B.A. at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He began diving and doing transects on islands in the Caribbean, and described reefs at Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, Cayman Brac, and St. Lucia for the first time, which eventually lead to his field guidebook to the corals of Hawaii. Most recently, he worked as a coral reef monitoring ecologist in American Samoa, doing the benthic monitoring for nine years.

What you’ll discover:

  1. The dive industry faces the likelihood of large losses due to climate change, as mass coral bleaching kills the coral, and turns beautiful coral reefs into algae beds, which have less fish because algae aren’t good habitat.
  2. Reducing diver damage, and reducing fishing pressure will both help improve the reefs where dive operators take their divers. But those are the small problems, the big one, the 800 pound gorilla in the corner of the room, is global warming. If the big one isn’t solved, in a few decades most reefs will become much less attractive to divers and business will likely decline.
  3. The science is clear: humans are the largest contributor to global warming, though natural effects also contribute. We know how to solve the problem. But it will take a shift in attitudes by the public, to support taking action. No one person or organization can get the public to change, but it is in the dive industry’s own best interests to speak out in support of action. It will cost almost nothing, but take some courage.

 

3:00 pm EDT

Raja Ampat: How Fishermen, Marine Tourism operators, traditional leaders and NGO’s are collaborating to preserve the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity

Dr. Mark Erdmann

Conservation International

Dr. Mark Erdmann is a coral reef ecologist and senior advisor for Conservation International-Indonesia’s marine program, and co-author of Reef Fishes of the East Indies.

Since 1998, Mark has worked closely with dive operators in both North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat to ensure that marine tourism plays a central role in marine conservation initiatives in those areas. During this time he has logged over 10,000 scuba dives while surveying marine biodiversity throughout the region.

What you’ll discover:

  1. How Dive Tourism is being used as an essential tool for conservation.
  2. What’s in it for you and how mentality promotes sustainable partnerships?
  3. Mark’s philosophy on destructive fishing practices (it’s brilliant)!

 

Day 4—Travelling Towards Sustainability

Thursday June 5, 2014

9:00 am EDT

Beyond ‘Responsible Diver’: The Ocean Reality Check

Dr. Alex Brylske

Florida Keys Community College

Dr. Alex Brylske is Professor of Marine Science and Technology at Florida Keys Community College in Key West, and sits on the Sanctuary Advisory Council for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Dr. Brylske is one of the most influential voices in the recreational scuba diving community. He designed and wrote many of the programs and material used today by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) to train divers of all levels. Dr. Brylske has been recognized as the most widely published author in the field of recreational scuba diving.

What you’ll discover:

  1. The ocean isn’t just a recreational resource, it’s critical to life on earth.
  2. Pollution isn’t just the nasty stuff that poisons people or causes birth defects.
  3. Most divers are well-intended, but they’re often not that well-informed.

 

11:00 am EDT

Selling Dive Travel with Substance

Cheryl Patterson  

Deep Blue Adventures

Cheryl was born and raised in London, England, and has been an avid traveler since the age of 8. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, and earned a degree (with distinction) in Travel & Tourism.

Cheryl is now a scuba instructor and avid cold water diver, combining her two passions and in 2004, founded Deep Blue Adventures, a highly successful dive travel company. Cheryl’s deep love for the sport fuels her mission to serve the dive travel community properly and completely, and at the same time show that above and below and everywhere in between, there is an untold story to share with the planet.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Why your success now and in the future depends on being sustainable.
  2. The triple-bottom-line approach—weighing ecological, economic and social aspects of your decisions and how small steps can equal big business.
  3. Creating and capturing the sustainable traveler.

 

1:00 pm EDT

It’s not easy being green

Steve Weaver

Dream Weaver Travel

Steve Weaver is the Founder and Operating Director of Dream Weaver Travel. He has been actively working in the dive and travel business since the early Eighties.

Steve has organized and escorted groups to dive destinations on six continents. He has logged over 4,000 dives in both fresh and salt water environments.

As a leading expert in the business of selling dive travel, Steve has been invited to speak at numerous industry shows and events. He often consults retailers on developing travel programs in their stores.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Is going green too much for dive businesses to handle?
  2. What is the underlying problem of creating a sustainable dive business?
  3. Should we penalize resorts and liveaboards for not being green yet?

 

3:00 pm EDT

Diving Professionals as Ambassadors of the Blue

Steve Mussman

Sea Lab Diving

Steve Mussman was born and raised on Boston harbor where a connection to the ocean developed early on while experimenting with scuba as a teenager.

As the owner/operator of Sea Lab Diving since 1985, Steve emphasizes an ecological approach to diving, promoting a better understanding of the many issues affecting marine ecosystems. Sea Lab introduces students to topics such as coral reef ecology, whale/dolphin captivity, shark finning and seafood sustainability, believing that divers have a unique and inherent responsibility to help keep our oceans blue and wild.

What you’ll discover:

  1. An ecological approach doesn’t cost you money.
  2. How to build customer loyalty by establishing your authority.
  3. How to broaden your dive students’ educational experience.

 

Day 5—Change Comes Through Action

Friday June 6, 2014

9:00 am EDT

Turning inspiration into real action

Shawn Heinrichs

Cinematographer & Photographer

Shawn is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, photographer, and marine conservationist. He has worked with leading journalist and film teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic, and delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Pew Environment Group.

His award-winning work has been featured with National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, WIRED and numerous other print and online publications.

Shawn serves on the International Board of WildAid, on the Board of Shark Savers, is an Associate Director of Manta Trust, and an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). See more of Shawn’s work at: www.bluespheremedia.com

 

What you’ll discover:

  1. Why too much talking can be deadly for change-makers.
  2. Why dive people love the ocean but are doing little to fix it.
  3. The dive industry’s success is directly connected to the health of the ocean and has the biggest pool of ocean-savvy people who can do something about it. So what are YOU going to do?

 

11:00 am EDT

Boosting Your Bottom Line: Building Sustainability into the Dive Center Business Model

Sacha Greene Belter

Oceans First Divers

Sacha Greene Belter fell in love with the marine environment at the age of seven while on a family trip in Hawaii, and hasn’t looked back. She received her Open Water certification at the age of fifteen and became a Scuba Instructor in 2008.

Sacha is the Director of Sustainability for Oceans First Divers, an environmentally conscious dive operation founded in 2005. As an advocate for ocean ecosystems, Oceans First Divers is redefining the diving industry and looks to become the first dive shop in the world with energy independence and no carbon footprint.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Easy steps to help you get started on building a sustainable business.
  2. Tips and resources to help you build a comprehensive sustainable business plan and measure your bottom line benefits.
  3. Free marketing ideas to help you acquire and retain customers.

 

1:00 pm EDT

Blue the Dive Industry: Working within to promote conservation below

Vicki Nichols Goldstein

Colorado Ocean Coalition

Vicki Nichols Goldstein grew up clamming and fishing off the coast of southern New Jersey. She earned a Master’s degree in environmental studies and marine policy from Yale and joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where she developed national oil spill contingency plans.

Vicki directed Save Our Shores for 10 years and initiated the first Central California Fishermen’s Forum on Marine Protected Area (MPA) bringing together 150 representatives from fishing, marine science, government and environmental organizations. As founder and president of Colorado Ocean Coalition, Vicki’s programs include “Blueing the Dive Industry” and the “Ocean Ambassador Certification Program”.

What you’ll discover:

  1. We are creating a model for other inland communities to collaborate with conservation groups, dive shops and the community to engage in ocean issues that are relevant to all.
  2. Through the “Blue the Dive Industry” effort, we are developing a vision and language to address harmful ocean practices and provide a unified voice for protection.
  3. The “Ocean Ambassador Certification Program” trains individuals in our region about ocean problems and solutions and gives them tips on how to convey that info.

 

3:00 pm EDT

Caught in the Same Net: The Ocean and Us

Dr. Carl Safina

Founder of Blue Ocean Institute

Carl Safina’s childhood by the shore launched a life-long passion, lending a distinct ocean flavor to much of his work as a scientist and is conveyed in his nonfiction writing. Safina is the award-winning author of “Song for the Blue Ocean”, “Eye of the Albatross”, “Voyage of the Turtle”, and “The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World”.

Carl Safina’s work probes not only the science but also the ethics of our moment with nature. He is the founding president of Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University where he also co-chairs the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, and hosts Saving the Ocean on PBS television.

What you’ll discover:

  1. Fisheries, coral reefs, forests, climate change, poverty, literacy for girls, and peace are all facets of the same issue.
  2. Sharing travels that take us from his Long Island beach house to the high Arctic, Antarctica, and across the coastal tropics, Safina will show how the changes he’s witnessed challenge not just nature but all of humankind.
  3. Safina will discuss how science has ethical implications, how religion and science are converging toward common cause on environmental matters, and how moral responses can add momentum toward increasingly crucial solutions. Despite serious trends, there is a path forward.

 

To register for the Blue Ocean Business Summit, visit www.BlueOceanBusinessSummit.com.

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Diving Redefined: Introducing NovoScuba

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novoscubaAttention all underwater enthusiasts, mermaids, and those who just really enjoy wearing fins! Brace yourselves for the splashiest news in the industry: NovoScuba has burst onto the scuba diving scene like a seal on a beach ball!

Move over, PADI, SSI, SDI, NAUI, RAID, and whoever else is lurking in the depths, because there’s a new fish in town!

But seriously, what gives? Why does NovoScuba think they can swim with the big fish? Are they secretly training dolphins? Are their wetsuits made of magic? Stay tuned as we uncover the mysteries of this underwater revolution!

The team at NovoScuba isn’t just your average squad – we’re a crew of dive store owners, managers, trainers, and pros. We’ve danced with the sharks and wrestled with the currents, so when it comes to the diving industry’s pain points, we’re definitely no strangers. But let’s be real: while existing agencies are stuck in the stone age, we’re here to embrace the 21st century. In a world where even fish have Instagram accounts, the diving industry needs to catch up or sink like a lead weight!

It’s time to challenge a change. Leveraging technology and introducing a breakthrough business model, and digitally native platform, NovoScuba aims to become the most innovative training agency to date.

novoscuba

Here’s a snapshot of what NovoScuba has up their sleeve for dive pros, managers/owners and students alike.

Owners 

  • Pay as you certify system
  • Fully developed digital course materials in multiple languages
  • No stock required
  • Monthly or annual membership fees
  • Business support and advice FOC
  • 24/7 support. Feedback orientated. Fast response and fast adapting
  • ISO Certified
  • Pain free and low cost transition to NovoScuba
  • Your business, your choice. No exclusivity expected or required
  • Pay in your local currency
  • Our automated system keeps your admin to a minimum. Less time on paperwork cuts costs and gives you more time to focus on your business
  • Co-marketing, advertising and support

novoscuba

Pros

  • Monthly membership fees
  • Intelligent online log book that automatically updates student records
  • One click certifications
  • Flexible training – student-centric/instructor trusted
  • Easy and inexpensive crossover
  • Pause your membership when you’re not teaching
  • Pro insurance / legal support
  • Job vacancy board

novoscuba

Students

  • Modern, relevant course materials
  • Fully developed and interactive digital learning
  • Accessible across any digital platform
  • Instant community and support
  • Monthly subscription granting access to all course materials
  • Digital log book for life
  • Streamlined subscription process – minimum admin

novoscuba

What else symbolises the NovoScuba dedication to excellence?

In an era where every other company boasts about being as green as a broccoli smoothie, it’s easy to tune out the noise of eco-friendly claims. But hold your seahorses! NovoScuba isn’t just another fish in the sea of greenwashing. We’re not just dipping our toes in the sustainability pool – we’ve cannonballed straight into it! B-Corp pending, we’re not just talking the talk; we’re doing the fins-on-the-ground work. With a net zero impact that even Captain Planet would applaud, our conservation efforts aren’t some distant pipe dream. Nope, we’re getting our hands wet right in our own diving communities, because let’s face it, saving the planet is a whole lot easier when you can do it in your own backyard – or in this case, your own coral reef!

It’s time to dive into the 21st century and embrace a new, innovative and intelligent training agency. One that fully understands that your success is needed in order for us to succeed. One that is 100% committed to your needs and will grow and adapt in order to keep meeting the challenges of the industry. Welcome to the new age of training. Welcome to NovoScuba – Diving Redefined.

For more information, email info@novoscuba.com or visit www.novoscuba.com.

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Preserving Paradise: Seacology’s Island Conservation Mission

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seacology

Islands are not just pieces of land surrounded by water; they are sanctuaries of biodiversity, cradles of unique cultures, and vital components of our planet’s ecological balance. However, these paradises face numerous threats ranging from habitat destruction to climate change. Recognizing the urgency of protecting these fragile ecosystems, Seacology has emerged as a beacon of hope, championing the preservation of island habitats worldwide while empowering local communities. In this article, we are diving into Seacology’s mission, its global impact, and its generous support for key conservation initiatives in Curaçao.

The Seacology Story:

Seacology, founded in 1991 by Dr. Paul Alan Cox (American ethnobotanist), operates on a simple yet powerful principle: conservation through collaboration. Unlike traditional conservation organizations, Seacology adopts a community-driven approach, partnering directly with island communities to address their needs while safeguarding precious ecosystems.

seacology

At the heart of Seacology’s philosophy lies the belief that sustainable conservation can only be achieved by empowering those who depend on the natural resources of their islands. By working hand in hand with local stakeholders, Seacology fosters a sense of ownership and stewardship, ensuring long-term protection for vital habitats.

A Global Impact of Seacology

Since its inception, Seacology has made remarkable strides in protecting island ecosystems across the globe. Through innovative projects and strategic partnerships, the organization has conserved millions of acres of marine and terrestrial habitat, spanning more than 60 countries.

What sets Seacology apart is its holistic approach, which integrates conservation efforts with community development initiatives. By providing tangible benefits such as clean water, education, and healthcare, Seacology incentivizes local communities to actively participate in conservation efforts, forging a sustainable path towards coexistence with nature.

Curaçao: A Jewel in the Caribbean Crown

Located in the crystalline waters of the Southern Caribbean Sea, Curaçao boasts stunning coral reefs, lush mangroves, and vibrant marine life. However, like many island nations, Curaçao faces a myriad of challenges including overfishing, habitat degradation, and climate change impacts.

seacology

In 2024, Seacology’s commitment to island conservation took center stage in Curaçao, where the organization provided generous support for three key initiatives: Reef Renewal Curaçao, Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao, and the Queen Conch Hatchery. Additionally, Seacology provided additional funding to advance sustainable fishing practices through educational programs.

Reef Renewal Curaçao

Coral reefs are the lifeblood of marine ecosystems, supporting a quarter of all marine species despite occupying less than 1% of the ocean floor. However, these invaluable ecosystems are under siege from rising sea temperatures, pollution, and destructive fishing practices.

seacology

Reef Renewal Curaçao, a flagship project supported by Seacology, aims to reverse the decline of coral reefs by implementing innovative coral propagation and restoration techniques. By engaging local communities in reef restoration efforts, Seacology is optimistic that their support will enable Reef Renewal Curaçao to continue their important work revitalizingd amaged ecosystems and fostering a sense of stewardship among residents.

Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao

For millions of years, sea turtles have roamed the world’s oceans, serving as keystone species and indicators of ecosystem health. Yet, these ancient mariners face numerous threats including habitat loss, poaching, and accidental capture in fishing gear.

seacology

In collaboration with Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao, Seacology is supporting their efforts to protect Curaçao’s sea turtle populations through research, monitoring, and community outreach. By raising awareness about the importance of sea turtles and implementing measures to mitigate threats, Seacology is aiding Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao to safeguard these iconic creatures for future generations to admire.

The Queen Conch Hatchery

Conch, revered for their succulent meat and ornate shells, are a cultural and culinary staple in many island communities. However, unregulated harvesting has led to depleted populations, jeopardizing both ecological balance and traditional livelihoods.

In Curaçao, Seacology’s support for the Queen Conch Hatchery initiative aims to conserve dwindling conch populations through captive breeding and sustainable harvesting practices. By collaborating with local fishermen and authorities, Seacology is helping to ensure that conch populations thrive while preserving cultural traditions and supporting coastal communities.

The project “Conquer the Future” is investigating the mortality and growth of Queen Conch juveniles, cultured at Curacao Sea Aquarium, after they have been outplanted in the wild. These experiments with small numbers of Queen Conch will take place in both Curaçao (Spanish Water) and Bonaire (Lac Bay). WWF-Dutch Caribbean is the main sponsor of this project, Seacology is the co-sponsor.

Advancing Sustainable Fishing Practices

Fishing is an integral part of Curaçao’s economy and culture, but unsustainable practices have led to overfishing and the depletion of key fish species. Recognizing the need for change, Seacology has provided a grant to the Federation of Cooperative Production (FKUP) to support innovative educational programs aimed at promoting sustainable fishing practices.

Through this initiative, Seacology hopes to instill a sense of environmental stewardship among local fishers. The educational programs focus on teaching sustainable fishing techniques, such as selective gear use, seasonal restrictions, and size limits, which help protect juvenile fish and allow populations to recover. Additionally, the programs emphasize the importance of marine conservation, the impact of overfishing on the ecosystem, and the benefits of sustainable practices for future generations.

seacology

By supporting the FKUP, Seacology is helping to ensure that local fishers have the knowledge and resources to adopt sustainable practices. This not only helps preserve fish stocks and marine biodiversity but also secures the livelihoods of fishing communities in the long term.

WWF-Dutch Caribbean supported in 2023 the first round of the sustainable fishing training organized by FKUP in Curaçao. Due to lack of budget at WWF-DC, FKUP has been looking for another sponsor for this training. They found Seacology to fund more training.

A Beacon of Hope for Island Conservation

In a world grappling with environmental crises, Seacology stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through passion, perseverance, and partnership. By empowering island communities, Seacology not only protects precious ecosystems but also enriches lives and preserves cultural heritage.

As we navigate the uncertain waters of the 21st century, organizations like Seacology remind us that the fate of our planet lies in our hands. Through collective action and unwavering dedication, we can safeguard the treasures of our islands and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

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