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Egypt implements environmental standards to protect its coral reefs

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The Reef-World Foundation and Chamber of Diving & Watersports (CDWS) have announced that Egypt is adopting Green Fins environmental standards to protect its coral reefs.

Through the implementation of the Green Fins initiative nationally (South Sinai Governorate from September and Red Sea Governorate from March), the Egyptian marine tourism industry is playing its part in protecting coral reefs from the negative impacts associated with diving and snorkelling.

The country has become the first in its region and the 11th worldwide to officially adopt Green Fins. Green Fins is one element of CDWS’ ambitious action plan to strengthen sustainability within the marine tourism sector across Egypt.

The initiative will be piloted in South Sinai Governorate and expanded to be available to all dive and snorkel operators nationwide by March 2020. Following a week of training by Reef-World (22-28 September 2019), Egypt now has a team of four Green Fins Assessors in South Sinai Governorate.

The Green Fins Assessor team is comprised of CDWS representatives who are now certified to recruit, train and conduct assessments of new Green Fins members in the country. As such, dive operators in South Sinai Governorate are now able to register their interest in becoming a Green Fins member by contacting the Green Fins Team at CDWS by emailing egypt@greenfins.net.

The new assessors are now fully certified to provide training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. The second phase of national introduction will see 4-5 more assessors trained in the Red Sea Governorate in March 2019 and CDWS is calling for interested operators in the region to sign up in advance.

Image: The Reef-World Foundation.

Egypt is a popular holiday destination with 11.3 million tourists visiting in 2018; up from 8.3 million in 2017. Of these, there are approximately 500 businesses providing diving and snorkelling activities in the Red Sea and an estimated three million divers and snorkellers visiting the region each year. The CDWS is rallying dive centres to join the Green Fins initiative to help improve their sustainability and prove they are following environmental best practice as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

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 overfishing or plastic debris as well the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures.

The Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support, based on robust individual assessments, to dive and snorkel operators. Reef-World hopes to significantly reduce negative environmental impacts on coral reefs in the Egypt by reaching 30 marine tourism operators, training 150 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practice among 30,000 tourists during Green Fins’ first year of implementation.

To date, four Egyptian dive and snorkel operators have already joined the global network of nearly 600 trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Reef Oasis Dive Club, Water Land 3 Diving Centre, Diving and Discovery and Camel Dive Club and Resort. There has also been significant interest from other operators who have signed the membership form and are looking forward to their training and assessment. The CDWS aims to certify 30 dive centres in the coming year.

Hany George and Chloe Harvey prepare for a dive.

Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be helping protect Red Sea coral reefs by bringing Green Fins to Egypt; the first country in the Middle East and the 11th country worldwide to adopt the initiative. As one of the original global diving destinations, the diving community in Egypt has shaped the way we dive and travel today, so I’m really pleased to be working with them to lead the way in sustainability within our industry. In fact, I learned to dive here aged 12 which has dramatically influenced my life dramatically and the way I have developed the Green Fins programme as a whole.”

She continued: “Through Green Fins, dive and snorkel operators in the region can improve their environmental best practices and reduce their negative impact on coral reefs; helping to conserve these vital ecosystems for many generations to come. The programme is initially launching in South Sinai Governorate with the Red Sea Governorate to follow in March 2020 so we urge dive operators in both regions to get in touch if they are interested in proving they follow environmental best practice by achieving a Green Fins certification.”

Hesham Gabr, Chair of the Chamber of Diving & Watersports, said: “Fortunately, the Red Sea is blessed to have a pristine underwater world with crystal clear visibility, warm waters and a thriving aquatic ecosystem. From large, multi-coloured coral reef systems home to several fish species to the presence of the BIG underwater creatures, we are lucky to be the custodians of a naturally rich and beautiful environment. Since the start of the 2019 summer alone, we have already had multiple sightings of whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, hammerheads, oceanic reef sharks and much, much more! It is so important that we protect and preserve the Red Sea’s exquisite marine life for future generations. As such, we are excited to promote environmental best practice to our members and help them reduce negative impacts on life under the sea, through the implementation of the Green Fins initiative.”

Ahmed el Wassief, Chair of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said: “Sustainability is a crucial element of the Egypt Tourism Reform Program that Egypt is undertaking to improve the standards and the quality of both the touristic infrastructure and its human element. The effort will surely put Egyptian tourism at the forefront of Eastern Mediterranean destinations. And has so far resulted in Egypt being the fourth highest improvement in tourism competitiveness.”

The launch of Green Fins Egypt was made possible thanks to financing support from the United Nations Development Programme through its project – “Mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into the tourism development and operations in threatened ecosystems in Egypt.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org, www.greenfins.net or www.cdws.travel. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up to Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Competitions

WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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