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Marine Life & Conservation

New Green Fins trainers for Egypt

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Egypt’s Chamber of Diving and Watersports is celebrating the first Green Fins trainers to complete the “Train the Trainer” programme in Africa and the Middle East Region

The Reef-World Foundation—the international coordinator of UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative—has successfully trained and certified three new Green Fins trainers from the Green Fins Egypt national team. They are now qualified to train new Green Fins assessors in the country, building capacity for the initiative’s continued expansion in the country.

Due to the increasing demand for the Green Fins programme by dive and snorkel operators in Egypt, the Green Fins Egypt team has undergone the Green Fins “Train the Trainer” programme in October 2022. Reef-World developed the “Train the Trainer” programme to assist the national teams in becoming more independent and sustainable. Following the week of training, Egypt now has a national Green Fins team comprised of three fully certified Green Fins trainers and nine Green Fins assessors from the Chamber of Diving & Watersports (CDWS).

Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “The team behind Green Fins in Egypt are such a unique mix of individuals with decades of diving experience and more than 100,000 dives between them. The team is constantly breaking down barriers and thinking really innovatively to work with the industry to overcome some systemic patterns of behaviour. By building their capacity to now train new assessors, they are more sustainable as a national team and can plan ahead to ensure they have the right people in the right places to continue to drive change within the marine tourism industry. I’m really hopeful that as the Green Fins network in Egypt grows, we can engage the right government agencies in further supporting the future sustainability of the Egyptian diving and snorkelling industry.”

Green Fins Egypt was launched in September 2019. The programme was piloted in the South Sinai Governorate with the CDWS leading all Green Fins activities in the country. The plan is to strengthen sustainability within the marine tourism sector across Egypt by guiding operators towards a more sustainable operating model. Training and encouraging the adoption of the Green Fins management approach to reduce their impact on the marine environment.

Mostafa Hefny, Chairman of the Chamber of Diving & Watersports, said: “Green Fins is raising awareness of the diving industry on the importance of sustainability and providing useful solutions to our problems. Egypt is leading the way in sustainable diving in the Middle East and African region.”

Building on the successful pilot, Green Fins was then expanded to be available to all dive and snorkel operators across Egypt in 2020. The team was lucky to complete the roll-out before the pandemic hit and travel restrictions prevented further implementation. Despite the setback, the team has continued to assess Members where possible, and there are now Green Fins certified dive and snorkel operators in all of the key destinations in the Red Sea.

Lina Challita, Environmental Manager at the Chamber of Diving & Watersports, said: “As a team, we are happy to become some of the few assessor trainers in the world. We hope to reach as many operators as possible and help with positive change in the industry.”

Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance. The initiative aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally-friendly guidelines that promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry.

Find out more here: The Reef-World Foundation

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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Gear News

Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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