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Get ready for DIVE 2015 – the 25th Anniversary of the Birmingham Dive Show



25th_anniversary_roundelSet aside as much of the weekend of 24/25 October as possible, because the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in the UK will be awash with divers – and you and your friends and family need to be there with them.

DIVE 2015 is the Show of the Year, and it’s an extra-special event because it marks 25 years of successful Shows organised at the NEC by the DIVER Group in that time.

Booking ahead brings significant cash savings but every ticket sale brings with it the chance to win a fortnight’s dive trip for two to the Mexican Pacific worth £8000 in the Grand Prize Draw.



DIVE 2015 speaker Paul Rose

Get your bearings at the New Product Showcase, a snapshot of the diving-equipment market’s latest offerings, and decide which kit you want to look at in more depth around the aisles.

You might even decide to try some of it out in the Technical Pool, especially if it’s one of the new generation of rebreathers.

You don’t have to be a CCR diver to get wet, of course – for beginners the Try-Dive Pool awaits, with Stoney Cove dive school divers standing by to introduce you to the joys a regulator, tank and BC can offer.

As usual, one of the pleasures of the Dive Show is the chance to meet the people who have hosted your dive holidays in the past or who will welcome you on trips in the future.

DIVE 2015 speaker Mark Powell

Whether you’re catching up or looking for information, check out the Asia-Pacific Showcase, Caribbean Village, British Isles Experience and all the other parts of the diving world represented around the hall and find out where your next dive-trip will take you.

Kit ticked, holidays ticked – and the third part of the equation is skills development, with a number of training agencies represented at DIVE 2015.

The PADI VILLAGE and SSI ZONE offer a further swathe of training and travel ideas, while the British sub-aqua club, which is holding its annual conference at the NEC, will be present in force with its branch pods.

Then there is the Photozone, where kit, holidays and training combine in a magnificent outpouring of underwater photographic talent. Take part in judging the British Society of Underwater Photographers’ annual prints competition and get involved in the constant exchange of tips and ideas flowing between speakers, exhibitors and visitors.

DIVE 2015 speaker Monty Halls


DIVE 2015 speaker Louise Trewavas

DIVE 2015 speaker Louise Trewavas

The 25th Dive Show line-up of diving presentations take place on the main DIVER Stage, the Centre Stage and in the two Ocean Theatres, and although it’s early days yet, we can promise you treats in store:

Paul Rose: “What will you be talking about, Paul?” “I’m here at Pond Inlet about to head north to establish camp at the northern tip of Baffin Island – how about ‘Diving the Wild Places’?” Sounds good!

Mark Powell: “Training Doesn’t Work” – some of the problems with current scuba-diving training and what we can do to fix those problems. Controversy alert – not for the first time with this popular Show presenter.

Monty Halls will be back from an exciting top-secret expedition “and doubtless I’ll be blithering on about it at the Dive Shows,” he said in last month’s column, so stand by for hot news! Monty’s custom Land-Rover Defender and Humber RIB will be back too, and with him at the Show. The trip? We hear that sharks may have been involved…


DIVE 2015 speaker Alex Mustard

Louise Trewavas: “The All-Time Top 10 Diving Mistakes – And How To Survive Them.” We’ve all been there – more advice you can’t afford to miss.

Alex Mustard is the man who straightened us all out about the contents of our favourite Red Sea wreck, and he’ll be back with a new twist on “Thistlegorm’s Cargo” which requires you to get involved.

Alex will also be talking in the PhotoZone alongside Martin Edge – and talking of the PhotoZone, drop into the audience at the Centre Stage to see some of the finest double acts since Eric & Ernie, including Saeed Rashid & Nigel Wade, Nick & Caroline Robertson-Brown and Jane Morgan & Gill McDonald.


Win an £8000 trip to the Land of the Giants just by turning up for DIVE 2015!

A landmark show, a landmark prize: By entering the DIVE 2015 Grand Prize Draw, you and a chosen companion have the chance of winning a trip of a lifetime.

Your jumping-off point will be the bustling marina resort of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. From there you will join a luxury liveaboard to dive in the eastern Pacific. Your trip will take in some of those dive-sites that make even the most experienced divers go weak at the knees – the spectacular Socorro Islands, San Benedicto and Roca Partida.

Expect to dive with the super-friendly giant Pacific manta rays (their wingspan has been known to reach 9m!), dolphins and sharks often in their hundreds, whale sharks, seals and ( from January to April, subject to availability) humpback whales. This area isn’t referred to as “the Mexican Galapagos” for nothing.

The prize, organised by UK tour operator The Scuba Place, comprises flights from London to Cabo San Lucas, one night all-inclusive hotel accommodation in the suite-only Dreams Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa; nine nights on board either the spectacular Nautilus Belle Amie or Explorer on a full-board basis, and two further nights back in Cabo to get your land-legs back! All airport transfers are included.

Socorro is one of the hottest dive destinations on the market, so don’t miss this or any opportunity to dive it! All this could be yours and a buddy’s – just buy a DIVE 2015 ticket! Terms & conditions apply.

Buy tickets to DIVE 2015 here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK land the prize catch at the Fishing News Awards



The charity Ghost Fishing UK was stunned to win the Sustainability Award.

The winners were selected by a panel of industry judges and the award recognises innovation and achievement in improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the UK or Irish fishing industries in 2021.

Nominees must have demonstrated a unique and innovative response to an environmental sustainability issue within the UK or Irish industry, demonstrating that the project has gone above and beyond standard practice, and provided evidence of its impact. The judges look particularly for projects that have influenced a significant change in behaviour and/or that have inspired broader awareness and/or engagement.

Ghost Fishing UK originated in 2015, training voluntary scuba divers to survey and recover lost fishing gear, with the aim to either return it to the fishing industry or recycle it. The charity is run entirely by volunteers and has gone from strength to strength, only last year winning the Best Plastic Campaign at the Plastic Free Awards.

Now, the charity has also been recognised at seemingly the opposite end of the spectrum. This is a unique achievement as trustee Christine Grosart explains;

We have always held the belief that working with the fishing industry is far more productive than being against it, in terms of achieving our goals to reduce and remove lost fishing gear.

The positive response to our fisheries reporting system that we received from both the fishing industry and the marine environment sector, was evidence that working together delivers results.

The feedback we got from the awards evening and the two-day Scottish Skipper Expo where we had an exhibit the following day, was that the fishing industry despises lost fishing gear as much as we do and the fishers here are very rarely at fault. It is costly to them to lose gear and they will make every effort to get it back, but sometimes they can’t. That is where we come in, to try to help. Everyone wins, most of all the environment. You can’t ask for much more.”

Following the awards, Ghost Fishing UK held an exhibit at the Scottish Skipper expo at the new P&J Live exhibition centre in Aberdeen.

This gave us a fantastic opportunity to meet so many people in the fishing industry, all of whom were highly supportive of our work and wanted to help us in any way they could. This has opened so many opportunities for the charity and our wish list which has been on the slow burner for the last 7 years, was exceeded in just 3 days. We came away from the events exhausted, elated, humbled, grateful and most of all, excited.”

Trustee and Operations Officer, Fred Nunn, is in charge of the diving logistics such as arranging boats and organising the divers, who the charity trains in house, to give up their free time to volunteer.

He drove from Cornwall to attend the awards and the exhibition: “What a crazy and amazing few days up in Scotland! It was awesome to meet such a variety of different people throughout the industry, who are all looking at different ways of improving the sustainability and reduction of the environmental impact of the fishing industry.

It was exciting to have so many people from the fishing industry approaching us to find out more about what we do, but also what they could offer. Fishermen came to us with reports and offers of help, using their vessels and other exhibitors tried to find ways that their product or service could assist in our mission.”

  • Ghost Fishing UK uses hard boat charters from Cornwall to Scotland for the diving projects, paying it forward to the diving community.
  • The charity relies on reports of lost fishing gear from the diving and fishing community and to date has received well over 200 reports, culminating on over 150 survey and ghost gear recovery dives, amounting to over 1000 individual dives and diver hours by the volunteer team members.
  • You can find more information at
  • If you are a fisher who knows of any lost fishing gear, you can report it to the charity here:
  • The charity is heading to Shetland for a week-long project in the summer of 2023. If you would like to support this project, please contact them at:

Chair of Ghost Fishing UK and professional technical diving instructor Dr Richard Walker was immensely proud of the team’s achievements;

I’ve been a scuba diver since 1991 and have met thousands of divers in that time. I’d be hard pushed to think of one of them that wasn’t concerned about conservation of our marine environment. To be recognised by the fishing industry for our efforts in sustainability is a huge honour for us, and has encouraged our team to work even harder to find, survey and remove lost fishing gear from the seas. The fact that the fishing industry recognises our efforts, and appreciates our stance as a group that wants to work alongside them is one of the highlights of our charity’s history, and we look forward to building the relationship further.

To find out more about Ghost Fishing UK visit their website here.

All images: Ghost Fishing UK

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Marine Life & Conservation

Komodo National Park found to be Manta Hotspot



Through a collaborative effort between citizen divers, scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), and Murdoch University, a new study reports a large number of manta rays in the waters of Komodo National Park, Indonesian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, suggesting the area may hold the key to regional recovery of the threatened species.

Reef mantas (Mobula alfredi), which grow up to 5m, tend to reside and feed in shallow, coastal habitats. They also visit ‘cleaning stations’ on coral reefs to have parasites, or dead skin picked off by small fish. Courtship ‘trains’ are also observed adjacent to cleaning stations. In Komodo National Park, manta rays are present year-round, challenging the famous Komodo dragon as the most sought-after megafauna for visitors.

Scientists teamed up with the dive operator community to source identification photographs of manta rays visiting the parks’ waters and submit them to – a crowdsourced online database for mantas and other rays. Most of the photographs came from just four locations from over 20 commonly visited by tourism boats.

I was amazed by how receptive the local dive community was in helping collect much-needed data on these threatened animals,” said lead author Dr. Elitza Germanov. “With their support, we were able to identify over 1,000 individual manta rays from over 4,000 photographs.

People love manta rays—they are one of the most iconic animals in our oceans. The rise of the number of people engaging in SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and the advent of affordable underwater cameras meant that photos and videos taken by the public during their holidays could be used to quickly and affordably scale data collection,” said MMF co-founder and study co-author Dr. Andrea Marshall.

The photographs’ accompanying time and location data is used to construct sighting histories of individual manta rays, which can then be analyzed with statistical movement models. These models predict the likelihood that manta rays are inhabiting or traveling in between specific sites. The study’s results showed that some manta rays moved around the park and others as far as the Nusa Penida MPA (>450 km to the west), but overall, manta rays showed individual preferences for specific sites within the Park.

I found it very interesting how some manta rays appear to prefer spending their time in some sites more than others, even when sites are 5 km apart, which are short distances for manta rays,” said Dr. Elitza Germanov. “This means that manta rays which prefer sites where fishing activities continue to occur or that are more popular with tourism will endure greater impacts.”

Fishing activities have been prohibited in many coastal areas within Komodo NP since 1984, offering some protection to manta rays prior to the 2014 nationwide protection. However, due to illegal fishing activity and manta ray movements into heavily fished waters, manta rays continue to face a number of threats from fisheries. About 5% of Komodo’s manta rays have permanent injuries that are likely the result of encounters with fishing gear.

The popularity of tourism to these sites grew by 34% during the course of the study. An increase in human activity can negatively impact manta rays and their habitats. In 2019, the Komodo National Park Authority introduced limits on the number of boats and people that visit one of the most famous manta sites.

This study shows that the places where tourists commonly observe manta rays are important for the animals to feed, clean, and mate. This means that the Komodo National Park should create measures to limit the disturbance at these sites,” said Mr. Ande Kefi, an employee of the Komodo National Park involved with this study. “I hope that this study will encourage tourism operators to understand the need for the regulations already imposed and increase compliance.”

Despite Indonesia’s history with intensive manta ray fisheries, Komodo National Park still retains large manta ray aggregations that with careful ongoing management and threat reduction will benefit regional manta ray populations. The study highlights that marine protected areas that are large enough to host important manta ray habitats are a beneficial tool for manta ray conservation.

For more information about MMF visit their website here.

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A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

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