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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.

Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Refreshing Skills

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A hugely important subject, and one that should be considered by any diver regardless of your training level. Just like anything, sometimes life gets in the way, we get sidetracked and before you know it, it’s been 2 months out of the water. It may not seem like a lot, but we naturally start to forget things when they are not used. We slow down our actions as we are out of practise and have to think a little more in order to retrieve the information to help make decisions.

There’s nothing wrong with this of course, we cannot always be diving! But it is important that we refresh before getting straight back into it. We obviously conduct a lot of refresher courses here at the dive centre, but we are also realistic, knowing that not everyone will want to pay to refresh their skills with an instructor. That’s also fine too, just be sensible.

Our tips for this would be the following; some will likely seem a little common sense… but it’s always good to have a reminder right?!

First off, when getting back to diving, choose a buddy that you usually dive with or someone that has a higher level of competency in diving. This will give you the reassurance in the water and not have to be worrying about the others person whilst getting back into it yourself.

Secondly, choose a site that you know. Don’t be jumping straight in having seen an amazing new site that you want to try out… that can wait for another time. You have already had a break in your actual diving, without having to then also consider navigating and a new dive plan.

Next, try to leave out the brand new equipment. It’s great that getting back into diving you have decided to buy yourself a new drysuit, fins and BCD, but it all might be a little bit much. Let’s concentrate on just getting back into the water and then move onto those new additions. This kind of change can make even the best of divers anxious.

Last but not least, there’s nothing wrong with staying shallow. Our first dive to get back into it, does not need to break our dive depth record. Stay shallow, enjoy the marine life at this depth, and keep the dive nice and easy. Practise those skills if you would like to, make sure you know where all your equipment is positioned and get comfortable. The ocean isn’t going anywhere… there’s always tomorrow to get in for another!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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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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