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Check out these Indonesia, Red Sea, and Maldives Dive Holiday Deals from Scuba Travel

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UK-based dive tour operator Scuba Travel have got some fantastic dive holiday adventures to offer you – check them out:

Introducing Emperor Raja Laut / From £2185 excluding flights

Emperor Raja Laut is a distinctive, hardwood schooner, sailing the stunning seas of Indonesia. Built by one of the area’s premier boat builders in 2005, she is perfectly adapted to the island hopping nature of dive liveaboards in Indonesia. Itineraries include the areas of Komodo, Raja Ampat and Banda. She really lives up to her name “King of the Sea”. Emperor Raja Laut comfortably accommodates 12 guests in 6 cabins, all below decks. There are 3 double bed cabins and 3 twin bed cabins, each with ensuite, mini safe, individually controlled air-conditioning and fan.

Includes shared cabin, 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, 1 cocktail party on a local island (weather permitting), tea, coffee and water, 3 dive guides 12 ltr air fills, weights and local airport transfers. Flights are not included.

Find out more about this dive holiday here.

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Discover Bunaken Oasis / Various dates / Prices start from £2995 including flights

Enjoy this 5 star stunning dive resort on Bunaken Island. The resort itself is set amid tranquil gardens; meander between the spa and freeform infinity pool. At the end of each relaxing day, the multi-level cocktail bar is the place to be before you make your way to dinner. The restaurant is right next door. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here, with mouth-watering gourmet Asian and western cuisine and fantastic sea views. There’s no need to compromise here. It’s time to kick back and enjoy your stay at Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort.  Fabulous diving with 50 superb dive sites around Bunaken and neighbouring islands plus the stunning house reef.

Includes flights, transfers, 7 nights traditional cottage (2 people sharing) full board, 17 boat dives and free nitrox, free house reef diving.

Find out more about this dive holiday here.

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Whirlwind Liveaboard / Red Sea Relaxed with Emma Farrell / 2nd September / Last 3 spaces / £1495 including flights

Not all dive holidays are restful! That’s why Scuba Travel created the Red Sea Relaxed™ itinerary, a very rewarding, but more relaxing alternative to the more usual scuba diving itinerary. Do as much or as little as you like! Enjoy a mix of on board activities: diving, snorkelling, yoga and freediving. Achieve mindfulness in the sunshine and scenery in the stunning Red Sea. Take advantage of the open dive deck policy, visiting fewer locations over the week, for a Red Sea liveaboard with less rushing about. This is your holiday done your way and escorted by the lovely freediver Emma Farrell.

Includes return flights, full board, 12ltr tanks, fully guided dives, plus morning and evening yoga and a try freediving course with Emma Farrell

Find out more about this dive holiday here.

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Serenity Liveaboard / Best of the Maldives / 9th September / Only £1895 / Other dates also available with great savings

The Best of the Maldives is an ideal itinerary for any first time visitor to the Maldives. Divers should be comfortable with drift diving but no minimum number of dives is required. All diving is made from dhonis to give precision entry and exits points. Night diving is limited to sheltered moorings but well worth jumping in for. With so many excellent and remarkable sites in and around North – South Male Atolls and the Ari Atolls, the Best of the Maldives is a route that can be dived time and time again. Surely no one can tire of the jaw dropping diversity and life on display. From the tiny creatures that thrill macro lovers to the elegant and inspiring big fish, there more than enough to keep you coming back for more.

Includes return flights, transfers, full board, all guided diving , tanks and weights.

Find out more about this dive holiday here.

To find out more about Scuba Travel and the dive holidays they offer, call 0800 0728221, email dive@scubatravel.com or visit www.scubatravel.com. You can find the latest summer specials at www.scubatravel.com/lastminute

Marine Life & Conservation

UK Shark Fin Trade ‘dead in the water’

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The government has today signalled the end of the UK’s involvement in the global shark fin trade with an announcement that new legislation will require all imported and exported shark fins to remain attached to the shark carcass and only traded as a whole commodity.

The news has been welcomed by Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation and its supporters including wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall MBE and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who both endorsed the charity’s No Fin To Declare campaign, calling for a post-Brexit ban of the personal import allowance of shark fins to the UK.

Before Britain left the EU it had been bound by outdated legislation that permits anyone to carry up to 20kg of dried shark fins into and across European borders as part of their personal import allowance. According to Bite-Back, this loophole has been exploited by the shark fin trade to legally ‘smuggle’ fins undetected for decades.

Campaign director at Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “This news puts the UK at the forefront of shark conservation and represents a further blow to a global industry that is forcing sharks closer to the brink of extinction. We applaud the government for using Brexit to side-step this archaic EU legislation and instead lead the world in the conservation of sharks and the oceans. We hope and believe this announcement will encourage other European countries to impose similar constraints.”

It’s estimated that global fishing fleets hunt and kill 73 million sharks every year. As a result one in four shark species is now either endangered or threatened forcing populations of iconic shark species including great whites, hammerheads, oceanic whitetips and threshers to a tiny fraction of those recorded 50 years ago.

Over the past decade shark fins — used as the title ingredient in shark fin soup — have become one of the most valuable seafood items in the world, a fact the charity says, has created a ‘marine gold rush’ to catch and separate sharks from their lucrative fins.

Shark fin soup is widely regarded as a controversial dish. Not only are the cartilaginous strands from the fins tasteless, fishermen are known to cut the fins off the sharks they catch and throw the rest of the shark overboard to die.

Bite-Back first exposed the personal import allowance loophole in 2015. Alongside the detrimental environmental impact the NGO also highlighted that no other item on the ‘green channel’ list compared in terms of volume or value. In fact a 20kg consignment of fins is enough to make 705 bowls of shark fin soup and has a black market value of around £3,600.

Spain, France, Portugal and the UK all feature in the top 20 shark fishing nations in the world. Remarkably though, for years, the UK has exported around 25 tonnes of shark fins to Spain for processing and onward sale to the Far East.

However, it will soon become illegal to import or export individual shark fins making it extremely costly and inconvenient to buy and sell a product that is contributing to the decimation of vital shark populations.

Wildlife TV presenter and Bite-Back patron, Steve Backshall MBE, said: “Today’s news is a fantastic outcome for shark conservation and the culmination of years of campaigning from Bite-Back. The government’s decision to effectively ban the trade in shark fins will be significant in helping to restore the balance of the oceans. At the same time it sends a clear message to the world that shark fin soup belongs in the history books and not on the menu.”

Support shark and marine conservation at www.bite-back.com

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Protecting England’s Wreck Sites: Site Security Protocols Launched

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The security of heritage assets is of the utmost importance; a monetary value cannot be attached to the significance of a site or its associated artefacts. This statement is true for both on land and underwater sites.

The policing of underwater sites however, is often a trickier affair, with out-of-sight often equalling out-of-mind. Unfortunately, a site’s underwater location does not stop thieves from stealing or damaging artefacts.

To aid in the protection of our underwater cultural heritage, a selection of sites of historical, artistic and archaeological importance have been protected by law under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/protected-wreck-sites/). Historic England manage these sites on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, Digital and Sport (DCMS), and a team of Licensees, effectively voluntary custodians, play a key role in their ongoing management.

The licensees work tirelessly on the wrecks and have had a special relationship with them since the very first days of the Protection of Wrecks Act. If it wasn’t for them, many of the sites would still be unknown and we would have very little knowledge of many of the existing sites. Their presence on the sites acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of accessing the sites illegally and their monitoring ensures that the sites are understood and enjoyed by many people.

To further aid in the physical protection of these significant sites, Historic England funded a partnership project between the Protected Wreck Association (PWA https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/) and MSDS Marine (https://msdsmarine.com/). This national-level project has seen the development of Site Security Plans for protected wreck sites. The model developed is based on the highly successful model developed by Ron Howell and the SWMAG team who are Licensees for the Salcombe Cannon and Moor Sands protected wreck sites.

A Site Security Plan is the end result of a process which assesses how secure a site is from illegal access. By completing two very easy to use but highly specialised forms, the site is given:

  • Its own Site Security Champion
  • Its own Heritage Crime Officer in the Police
  • A level of risk of heritage crime occurring to enable appropriate response to be put in place and to allow targeting of resources
  • Quick win opportunities to decrease its level of risk
  • A protocol for the licensees to follow every time they access the site
  • Specialist guidelines to enable crime reporting to enforcement authorities
  • A toolkit consisting of: A High Vis vest, to help identify the Site Security Champion to the public / authorities and pocket-sized card, summarising guidance on reporting crimes.

The project team will be supporting Licensees and their teams in completing a Site Security Plan and Risk Assessment for each Protected Wreck Site. MSDS Marine will be contacting Licensees inviting them to book a slot to work through the process. Individual Licensees and teams can also follow the guidance to complete the documents on their own with MSDS Marine on hand to support as required.

The Site Security Forms are accessible on the Protected Wreck Association website, in the members only area https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/members-area/site-security/ . If you are not a member and would like to join, this is an excellent time, as its free!

Assessing the security of a wreck site will inform Historic England of any sites which are at a high risk of heritage crime, and aid them in the future management of these sites. It will assist Licensees in highlighting areas for concern and in turn offer positive actions that can be taken to reduce the threat. It is hoped that the scheme will help put practical measures in place to ensure that the sites are protected from illegal activity in future.

Alison James, Project Manager at MSDS Marine said: “I spent ten years working at Historic England managing England’s protected wreck sites and at times was incredibly frustrated by being unable to ‘police’ the sites. The model we have developed is based on the highly successful model developed by SWMAG which has been shown to work on a number of occasions. We hope this will make a real difference to the sites and the teams that work on them.”

Professor Mike Williams, Chair of the Protected Wreck Association said: “We are delighted and grateful that Historic England has funded this project. It will enable us to undertake valuable work to support our members, who are dedicated volunteers protecting our maritime heritage.”

Hefin Meara, Marine Archaeologist at Historic England said: “We are pleased to support this important project and recognise the enormous contribution that licensed volunteer divers are making to help protect England’s fascinating marine historic environment.”

For more information please visit www.ProtectedWrecks.org.uk , www.MSDSMarine.co.uk, and www.historicengland.org.uk.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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