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Look, don’t touch! Staycation tips to safeguard the UK’s amazing marine life



The Marine Conservation Society provides some guidance on how to travel the UK responsibly this summer

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease further and more people are looking to the UK’s coastline for a staycation this summer, it’s important to be a responsible holidaymaker, even when staying close to home. The Marine Conservation Society is urging staycationers to be respectful and responsible when enjoying the UK’s beautiful beaches.

With reports of increasing volumes of litter across the country’s outdoor spaces and wildlife encounters gone wrong, the charity’s experts offer some top tips on how to ensure that a visit to the seaside this summer is good for visitors, animals and the environment alike.

Rather than piling up rubbish next to bins which may be blown onto the beach, with plastic polluting the ocean and endangering wildlife, the Marine Conservation Society is calling on beachgoers to #KeepItClean and take their litter home. But it’s not just litter of concern to the charity, an increase in visitors not knowing how best to interact with wildlife is disturbing marine animals.

Emily Cunningham, Marine Biologist and Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society said: “Seeing marine wildlife is an amazing experience, but it’s up to us to make sure our enjoyment doesn’t cause the animals harm or stress.”

“This is especially important at this time of year, when many of our British marine creatures are pregnant, rearing chicks or nursing their babies. As restrictions lift and many of us head to the coast, please make sure to give our wildlife the extra space they need to raise their young.”

Top tips to be a responsible beachgoer:

  • Do Not Disturb: If you’re snorkelling or diving and come across animals like seahorses, watch from a distance and swim calmly away. Male seahorses are pregnant at this time of year so it’s extra important not to disturb them
  • Keep dogs on leads: Beach nesting birds lay their eggs directly onto sand or shingle. These are very well camouflaged and at risk of disturbance from beach visitors and dogs. Be sure not to touch or move the eggs and keep a safe distance
  • Keep your distance: Whales, dolphins and porpoise are large, unpredictable animals; getting too close is not only distressing for them, but could easily cause harm. It is illegal to touch, feed or swim with whales, dolphins or porpoise
  • Look, don’t touch: Grey and common seals are found around the UK. They give birth in the summer and mothers will be suckling their pups on land – it is important to give them extra space, whether on foot or at sea. All year round, seals haul out onto shore to rest or digest their food and should be left alone. Never chase a seal back into the sea
  • Keep quiet and carry on: While at sea stay at least 100m away from any animals, avoiding groups or mothers and young completely. Engines should be switched to neutral if animals are close. Stay alert, boat skippers have been prosecuted in England for reckless disturbance of dolphins

Throughout July the Marine Conservation Society, sponsored by new plastic-free toilet paper Oceans, is also asking people to set their own Plastic Challenge in a bid to reduce our consumption of disposable plastic items. For holidaymakers, this could be as simple as making one small switch to your daily beach visit and taking a reusable water bottle with you, or packing a picnic in reusable containers. Taking reusable containers to the beach will make a huge impact on reducing the increasing volumes of litter seen on the UK’s beautiful beaches in the form of plastic cups, takeaway boxes and more.

For more information on how to be a responsible beachgoer, please visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website. If you spot a jellyfish, basking shark or even a turtle off the UK’s shores, be sure to share it via the sightings page on the website.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship



Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

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 run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”

Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February



There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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