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Eydhafushi to host Baa Manta Festival 2019

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Celebrating the Gentle Ocean Giants of the Maldives

Taking place on Eydhafushi Island from Friday 20th to Saturday 21st September, this #FridaysForFuture event will help to kick-off Global Week for Future: a week of climate action led by Greta Thunberg. There are no tickets required and all are welcome!


200 students create a manta. Credit Simon Hilbourne@Manta Trust

The Manta Trust is organising the second Maldives Manta Festival in partnership with the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Eydhafushi Island and Atoll Council, Baa Atoll Education Centre, and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru resort. This exciting event will build on the success of last year’s festival by bringing together communities, school students and
tourists from across the country to celebrate the Maldives’ unique marine life. What better location for a manta festival than Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; home to the world-famous Hanifaru Bay, a Marine Protected Area that attracts aggregations of over 200 reef manta rays during the South West Monsoon.

Manta sculpture competition. Credit: Simon Hilbourne@Manta Trust

The Baa Atoll Manta Festival aims to leave a lasting legacy for young Maldivians, inspiring the next generation to engage with marine ecology and conservation. This year over 1000 students are expected to attend.

We want our annual Baa Atoll Manta Festival to encourage young Maldivians to experience the beauty of the ocean by spending more time in the water swimming and snorkelling” explains the Manta Trust’s Flossy Barraud, one of the event’s key organisers. “Resorts sponsoring 2018’s Manta Festival donated snorkelling equipment to every school in Baa Atoll. This year, the resorts are taking 200 students from 12 local schools snorkelling with manta rays inside Hanifaru Bay. We hope this will inspire the next generation to continue to protect their marine environment and Biosphere Reserve.”

Welcome dance. Credit:Simon Hilbourne@Manta Trust

Friday 20th will include the opening ceremony and speeches as well as a panel discussion between environmental figureheads from the Biosphere Reserve, Manta Trust and the Environmental Protection Agency, amongst others. With over 30 inspiring stalls boasting educational content plus manta, turtle and whale shark themed games and virtual reality, the event is sure to engage all attendees with vital marine conservation issues. Malé
businesses including Island Bizaar, Oevaali Art Shop and Pepper Dots will join the celebration, brought to the festival alongside students by transport partner MTCC. Creative students are invited to enter the live art competition, with great prizes up for grabs including return flights from our travel partner Manta Air. Stalls will remain open into the evening,
allowing guests to peruse whilst enjoying Bodu Beru and DJ performances.

200 students have snorkeling lessons at festival. Credit: Simon Hilbourne@Manta Trust

Saturday brings plenty more excitement as stalls open for a second day and students take part in some hands-on conservation for ‘World Coastal Clean-up Day.’ Students will learn how to segregate waste using ocean plastics collected during beach cleans on their islands, organised in collaboration with Soneva Fushi and plastic reduction group ‘Parley for the Oceans.’ In the afternoon schools will participate in the Swim Maldives “Odin Rashah”
swimming competition and a themed performance competition titled ‘Charismatic Megafauna’. Following these events, the winners of all competitions will be announced. Prizes will include snorkelling equipment, snorkelling field trips and merchandise generously donated by our sponsors. The festival will go out in style with evening entertainment from local musicians and Bodu Beru.

The festival is generously sponsored by 15 local resorts: Four Seasons, Vakkaru, Ocean Dimensions at Kihaa, Anantara Kihavah, Nautilus, Reethi Faru, Milaidhoo, Sea-Explorer and Reethi Beach, Finolhu, Amilla Fushi, Dusit Thani and Ocean Group, Westin Maldives, Euro-Divers Maldives, Meeru Island Resort and Soneva Fushi. The festivities will be covered by
press partners Eydhafushi Times and Public Service Media.

For more information about The Manta Trust visit their website by clicking here.

Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme

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Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability

PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.

An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.

Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.

“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”

During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling.  Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.

To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi

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DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away

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Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.

Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.

Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).

In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.

During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.

An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.

Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.

“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”

“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”   

Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.

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