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Dive Professionals can now become Green Fins certified

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New online course trains dive guides in the best environmental standards, whether or not their dive school is a Green Fins member

The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinators of Green Fins – with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS), has announced the launch of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course: a free online course designed to help dive professionals reduce the negative impacts of scuba diving on the underwater environment and conduct more environmentally friendly dives.

The new Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course is the only course which teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards, as set out by the Green Fins initiative. Dive guides can take this course – free of charge – whether or not their dive operator is a Green Fins member.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as over fishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures.

Scuba professionals have the ability to positively influence diver behaviour and this course helps guides better manage their guests to prevent them causing damage to the reef; helping to protect coral and other marine life one dive at a time. It covers techniques such as how to provide an effective pre-dive environmental briefing and how to stop customers (including underwater photographers) touching coral whilst diving; techniques proven to reduce the level of coral damage associated with diving.

The course provides dive professionals with three modules of easy-to-follow content followed by corresponding tests on an intuitive, user-friendly platform:

Module 1: an introduction to coral reef biology, the Green Fins approach, why it is imperative we protect reefs, and how guides can use Green Fins resources, such as posters and guidelines, to support their day to day work.

Module 2: management techniques above water, such as how to prepare and plan an environmentally friendly dive and maximising the opportunity of an effective environmental pre-dive briefing to encourage guests to limit their environmental impact.

Module 3: how to confidently lead a dive using positive role model behaviour and making underwater corrections – such as adjusting buoyancy – followed by an explanation and positive reinforcement once the dive is over. Research has shown divers who receive environmental information in pre-dive briefings coupled with interventions underwater cause significantly less damage to coral.

There is a short test at the end of each module which dive professionals must pass in order to finish the course. On completion of the course, there is an option to donate £19 ($24) to support Green Fins’ work around the world and receive a personalised electronic certificate which can be displayed to inform guests the guide is aware of how to reduce the environmental impacts associated with diving. Displaying the certificate can help attract eco-minded customers and make divers more confident about the standards of the centre. The Dive Guide e-Course can also be offered as an addition to the Divemaster training programme, resulting in increased business for the dive school. Certified guides and dive centres will both benefit from additional promotion through the Green Fins community.

Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course enables dive professionals to become more environmentally aware, understand the main environmental threats posed by SCUBA diving and be able to minimise those threats. We hope that the course will help protect coral reefs all over the world, allowing them to be more resilient to wider stressors such as the effects of climate change. What’s more, many divers now expect, and demand, environmentally aware guides so being a positive role model in this way not only protects the underwater environment, but can also result in better employability and more tips!

Green Fins is the only internationally recognized environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between UN Environment and The Reef World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.

For more information, or to sign up for the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, please click here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Marine Conservation Society & Natural History Museum launch first Big Seaweed Search Week

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There are over 650 species of seaweed found around the UK. From dabberlocks to bladder wrack and sugar kelp, each seaweed plays a vital role in supporting the health of our seas, and the planet.

From 26th July – 1st August 2021, the Marine Conservation Society and Natural History Museum will be asking people across the UK to get involved and spot seaweed at the seaside as part of Big Seaweed Search Week.

The Big Seaweed Search equips beachgoers with the knowledge to identify 14 of the most common types of seaweed found at the UK seaside. This vital information is then shared with the Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society, who use the data to inform research on how the presence of different seaweed has changed over time due to environmental factors such as climate change.

Kate Whitton_Marine Conservation Society

Professor Juliet Brodie, Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and Big Seaweed Search: “By taking part in Big Seaweed Search Week you’ll be helping to contribute to our ongoing scientific research into seaweeds.

“As climate change affects our seas, we’re seeing temperature increases, sea level rise and the impact of ocean acidification. These changes can affect the distribution of different seaweed species around the UK coastline. For example, dabberlocks, a large brown seaweed, is declining in abundance around our coasts, and the number of non-native species in the seaweed flora is increasing year on year. By mapping where different seaweed species are, we can create a baseline from which to determine the impact of environmental changes on our seas.”

Some of the most common and best known seaweeds are brown seaweeds: bladder wrack, with distinctive air-filled bladders and spiral wrack, which often has a spiral twist. Also easily identified is sugar kelp, which has a tough, elongated strap-shaped frond that has a crinkled, dimpled or ruffled surface. Kelps are cold water species, and form kelp forests in many parts of the world’s seas.

Not only are seaweeds a great source of nutrients and energy for animals such as crabs and sea urchins, but they also create critical habitats for other species, acting as nurseries for young fish and places where other sea creatures can take cover from predators.

Alex Mustard – Young lumpsucker

Seaweeds such as kelp are also vital ‘blue carbon’ stores, absorbing carbon from the water and atmosphere just like forests on land. The storage of blue carbon can be in the plants themselves, like seaweed and seagrass; in the seafloor sediment where plants are rooted; or even in the animals which live in the water, including seabirds, fish and larger mammals. Unfortunately, 38% of kelp populations are reported to be declining around the world, limiting ocean ecosystems’ abilities to absorb carbon and fight the climate crisis.

Justine Millard, Head of Volunteer and Community Engagement at the Marine Conservation Society:“We’re hoping lots of people will join Big Seaweed Search Week this year as they head to the coast. We want people across the UK to learn about the wonders of seaweed, spread the word, and help us collect vital information which will support our ongoing research.”

The Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society have developed a helpful guide, highlighting key features of the different seaweeds likely to be spotted by the seaside.

To get involved, just complete the simple survey on a mobile, tablet or computer which can be carried out as an individual or in groups.

Register to take part and download the guide and recording form at www.bigseaweedsearch.org

  • Choose your 5 m of coastline to survey
  • Fill in your survey form
  • Take LOTS of clear, close-up photographs for your survey to be accepted
  • Submit your survey through bigseaweedsearch.org
  • Don’t forget to upload your photographs when you submit your survey

You can visit the Big Seaweed Search website for all the information you’ll need to get started.

Header Image: Spiny starfish up on kelp by Paul Naylor

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Marine Life & Conservation

Queen of the Mantas now on WaterBear

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Watch the WaterBear Original Film Now!

Dr. Andrea Marshall a.k.a. “Queen of the Mantas” has dedicated her life to studying manta rays, one of the most intelligent, and at 7 meters, one of the largest creatures in the ocean.

As co-founder of The Marine Megafauna Foundation, she leads the research on this globally threatened species. Whether scuba diving through tropical waters to observe their behavior or flying through the air to gather data from above, her groundbreaking discoveries have changed our understanding of this mysterious ocean creature. But upon discovery of a grave threat to her beloved manta rays, she must fight against the odds to ensure the survival of this magnificent species.

WaterBear is the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. Whatever you feel passionately about in the world of climate action, biodiversity, sustainability, community, and more, WaterBear provides access to award-winning and inspirational content that empowers members to dive deeper, learn more, and take action. It’s completely free and available in 40 countries around the globe.

Click here to watch the WaterBear original film on the real-life story of MMF’s co-founder and global manta ray expert, Dr. Andrea Marshall.

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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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