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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World announces launch of the updated Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course

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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-a-dive-guide.

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-fins-dive-guide

Marine Life & Conservation

Help protect our marine environment with BSAC’s new Shore Surveyor course

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BSAC has partnered with Scottish environmental charity, Seawilding, to offer everyone the chance to help champion the marine environment with the new Shore Surveyor course.

Delivered by eLearning, Shore Surveyor has been designed to engage people, particularly children and young people, in the issues that face our precious marine life. With a focus on the UK’s native oyster and seagrass beds, this eLearning course equips participants with the skills needed to help identify seashore-based habitats and record what they find.

Shore Surveyor is open to everyone, whether they are BSAC members or not.

Working with Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Shore Surveyor participants will also learn about the native oyster and seagrass beds and the issues they currently face.

Both the UK’s native oyster and seagrass habitats have experienced a serious decline over the past 200 years, resulting in an estimated 95% reduction in populations. The new Shore Surveyor course ties directly into BSAC’s major new marine project, Operation Oyster, which aims to protect and restore native oyster habitats around the UK.

By the end of the course, participants can become ‘citizen scientists’ by helping to locate and record seashore areas where current or potential native oysters or seagrass populations are present. This data can then be fed into the National Marine Records Database to help scientists studying our coast as well as support future underwater surveys.

Seawilding CEO, Danny Renton, said he was delighted to partner with BSAC on the Shore Surveyor course.

“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people, in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation. The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”

BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said the new Shore Surveyor course was also part of BSAC’s drive to get more young people actively involved in marine life protection. 

“This new course not only explores the threats faced by our precious oceans but also empowers people to get directly involved.

“From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”

One of the first participants of the Shore Surveyor course, 16-year-old Lili, from North Wales, has recently put her new found surveying skills into action while on her summer holidays.

“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said Lili. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents.

“There is a bit of eLearning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”

Shore Surveyor is open to children aged eight up to adults and costs £20. For more information and to book onto the eLearning course, go to bsac.com/shoresurveyor.

For more information on Operation Oyster and other ways you can get involved, go to bsac.com/operationoyster

Images: Seawilding

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Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Seiko Prospex unite to help create the world’s largest underwater cleanup for ocean change

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PADI® and Seiko Prospex are teaming up to help marine conservation charity Oceanum Liberandum host the world’s largest underwater cleanup event in Sesimbra, Portugal on 24 September 2022.

Taking place during AWARE Week, the event aims to bring together 700 divers to clean up the coastline for a 12-hour period and is anticipated to host the most divers ever on record taking part in one consecutive underwater cleanup effort.  Participating divers and dive centres from around the region will come together to collect marine debris–which will ultimately be logged into PADI’s Dive Against Debris database.

“Our database is the world’s largest in terms of capturing seafloor debris data, which has already helped drive two pioneering scientific papers being used to create new waste management policies,” says Emma Daffurn, CSR Specialist for PADI Worldwide. “More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 and the environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at $13 billion US a year. This world record attempt further highlights the important role divers play in reporting, removing and advocating to stop marine debris at its source.”

PADI is proud to have Seiko Prospex on board as the sponsor of the marine debris program and a partner for this world record attempt. Their support is critical to advancing the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action, and protecting the global ocean now and for generations to come.

“Helping to raise awareness and take an active role in environmental conservation has become one of Seiko Prospex’s missions,” says Miguel Rodrigues, Sales & Marketing Director for Seiko Prospex. “We seek, whenever possible, to support events that have ocean conservation at their core, and we are very honored to sponsor the world’s largest underwater cleanup. We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future where humans are an integral part of nature.”

Those who want to volunteer to take part in the world record attempt can learn more and sign up at oceanumliberandum.pt/en/Largest-Underwater-cleanup-in-the-World/. The 15 euro registration fee will go towards supporting dive centres with boats, facilities and air bottle logistics.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Seiko in supporting the largest underwater cleanup event so that we can mobilise Ocean TorchbearersTM to take action to protect what they love, capture more essential data for policy changes, and continue the wave of momentum in creating positive ocean change,” says Daffurn.

For more from PADI, visit www.padi.com

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