Marine Life & Conservation
Reef-World announces launch of the updated Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is pleased to announce the launch of the updated Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course: new contents in Green Fins’ free online course designed to teach dive professionals about the marine ecosystems in which they work and to help build on their existing scuba diving knowledge to conduct more environmentally friendly dives.
Diving-related damage to sensitive coral reefs remains an increasingly significant issue. According to the GCRMN’s The Sixth Status of Corals of the World: 2020 report, “reducing local pressures on coral reefs in order to maintain their resilience will be critical while global threats posed by climate change are addressed”. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course continues to equip dive professionals with the knowledge to manage this important issue.
Reef-World initially created the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course in 2019 with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) but since 2021, the course has been independently hosted on the Green Fins website. Reef-World created the course to enable individual dive professionals to be part of the Green Fins network without their operation being a Green Fins member. To date, the course has enrolled 1,827 dive guides and instructors who have learnt how to maximise their ability to influence diver behaviour and better manage their guests to prevent them from causing damage to marine life, notably coral reefs. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course is still the only environmentally accredited course for dive professionals to learn best environmental practice.
The updated course now has an extended marine biology section, including lessons about coral reefs and other marine ecosystems, the latest updates in marine conservation and environmental threats; and the actions to help prevent them. Upon completing the course, there is an option to pay $25 to receive a personalised electronic certificate. All funds will be used to support Green Fins’ work worldwide to make sustainable diving the social norm. Each certificate has a validity of two years to encourage dive professionals to remain educated with the latest information.
Reef-World recommends that dive professionals retake this course every two years in order to refresh their skills and stay up to date with the latest environmental and dive industry knowledge. Just like refreshing their safety skills, refresher courses help to keep important knowledge fresh and current. Those who have completed the course can display the certificate to inform their guests that the guide is aware of reducing the environmental impacts of diving, making divers more confident about the guide and centre’s standards.
This is the first update since the course’s inception in 2019, with Reef-World now planning to update the course content annually, whilst making minor modifications throughout the year to match dive and conservation industry news and incorporating feedback from dive professionals who have taken the course.
JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “As global tourism slowly restarts, it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest environmental knowledge. To protect coral reefs and minimise local threats to allow them to be more resilient and the chance to recover from other wider stressors effects such as climate change. Reef-World aims to continue providing dive professionals with the latest marine conservation and dive industry updates to help preserve the coral reef ecosystems, which many rely on for food, coastal protection, and income from tourism and fisheries.”
The Andrea Leeman Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund is still available for those who cannot afford the certificate personally or through their employers. This is funded purely from generous donations from the general public. Those that would like to support and sponsor a dive guide can do so by visiting: https://greenfins.net/sponsor-
Green Fins is the only internationally recognised environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between the UN Environment Programme and The Reef-World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.
For more information, or to sign up for the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, please visit: https://greenfins.net/green-
Marine Life & Conservation
The Shark Trust Great Shark Snapshot is back!
The last week of July will see the return of the Shark Trust’s citizen science initiative that invites divers and snorkelers, all around the world, to record the sharks and rays that they see between the 22nd and 30th. After the success of the first event, this year is going to be even bigger and better.
Information about the species and numbers of sharks and rays the participants find over the week will be added to the Shark Trust’s Shark Log. This global shark census will, over time, allow shark scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur. Sharks are threatened by destructive fishing, climate change and habitat loss. The data collected during the Great Shark Snapshot will help scientists put effective conservation plans in place.
Dive clubs, centres, and liveaboards can sign up to show their support for this event and advertise their planned dives on the Great Shark Snapshot registration page. Divers looking to join an event will be able to use the map to find Great Shark Snapshot dives taking place near them. As well as gathering vital data, the event will provide a chance to celebrate the incredible shark and ray species that live close to you.
Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Coordinator at the Shark Trust said: “It was wonderful to see so many divers take part in our first event last year. What is even better is seeing those dive centres and liveaboards returning to take part again this year, along with many more signing up for the first time.”
With the event still 2 months away, dive centres and liveaboards from over 20 countries have already signed up to take part. From Palau to Costa Rica. From the UK to Australia. Whether you are diving your local dive site, or on the diving trip of a lifetime. You can take part in the Great Shark Snapshot.
It is easy to join in. Just go diving between 22nd and 30th July and record every shark, ray and skate that your dive group sees. If possible, take photos and some video footage too. The Shark Trust really wants to see what species you encounter on your dives. Then make sure that you record your sightings on the Shark Trust Shark Log recordings website or by using the Shark Trust app.
The Great Shark Snapshot is a way for divers to get together, go diving, and do something to help shark conservation. Why not dive in?
Find out more here: www.sharktrust.org/snapshot
Fourth Element now planting a tree for every online order
Global dive brand Fourth Element has announced the launch of their “Plant for the Planet” initiative, a commitment towards offsetting their carbon footprint and supporting environmental conservation through tree planting and mangrove restoration.
As a brand dedicated to sustainability and environmental conservation, Fourth Element has partnered with Ecologi, a leading platform for climate action, to plant a tree for every online order received. By working with Ecologi, Fourth Element ensures that the trees and mangroves planted are part of verified reforestation projects around the world that have a positive impact on local communities and biodiversity.
Trees play a crucial role in the health of our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and providing oxygen, while also supporting biodiversity. In addition, mangroves, which grow in coastal areas, are essential in protecting our oceans and mitigating climate change. They absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and provide habitat for a wide range of marine life. However, both trees and mangroves are under threat from deforestation and development.
“Plant for the Planet” reflects Fourth Element’s commitment to taking responsibility for their impact on the environment and promoting sustainability in their business practices. By choosing to shop with Fourth Element, customers are also supporting the company’s efforts to protect the environment and promote positive change.
“We believe that it is our duty as a business to take action and make a positive impact on the planet,” said Paul Strike, CEO of Fourth Element. “Through our partnership with Ecologi and our ‘Plant for the Planet’ initiative, we are taking steps to offset our carbon footprint and support reforestation and mangrove restoration projects, which are critical for the health of our oceans and the planet as a whole.”
Fourth Element’s “Plant for the Planet” initiative is part of their ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. The company continues to explore ways to reduce their environmental footprint and promote responsible practices within the dive industry.
For more information about Fourth Element and their “Plant for the Planet” initiative, please visit www.fourthelement.com/plant-for-the-planet.
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