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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World Foundation releases 2021 highlights in latest Annual Report

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The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – has revealed the highlights and major developments in their latest 2020–2021 annual report. The report shows how the charity has had to adapt to the pandemic to continue to deliver and is determined to build back better.

While grassroots work was unable to occur throughout most of the year due to the global pandemic, digital innovations have enabled the charity to continue to help the marine tourism industry reduce its direct and local impacts on coral reefs. Through the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, the charity continues to educate dive professionals worldwide to protect and preserve coral reefs, no matter their location. The course is now hosted independently on the newly launched Green Fins website. The revamped Green Fins website has a strong focus on increasing tourist demand for members and consolidating the charity’s digital portfolio. It is now easier for tourists to find active Green Fins members to dive with through a live member map and new content structure.

In addition, the charity developed two new guidelines for environmental best practices and four new language translations (Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish) to expand the reach of its conservation message. The new website loads faster, is more mobile-friendly and is built to scale for visitor traffic peaks. The outcome from the update is the increment in Green Fins tools and resources downloads, a growth of 45.4% from the previous year.

Key highlights include the resignation of the founder of Reef-World, Anne Paranjoti. After 24 years dedicated to helping communities to tackle the many environmental threats facing their livelihoods, she has decided to step down as Chair and Trustee. The Reef-World team will sorely miss her guidance and support. Other highlights and new developments include: expanding the Green Fins online courses to meet the demand for education on sustainable diving from recreational divers with the development of the Green Fins Diver e-Course; selected for the Beyond Tourism Innovation Challenge along with Reef Check Dominican Republic and Misión Tiburón in Costa Rica to foster innovative solutions to transform and revitalise the tourism sector.

Furthermore, there will be a significant shift for Green Fins as the charity is updating the membership structure for Green Fins members, moving towards a minimum acceptable environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators. The charity is also developing a ‘Green Fins Digital Membership’ to meet the growing demand for the Green Fins initiative and to support the national teams. All that will be accompanied by a new Green Fins logo that incorporates the Green Fins’ ethos, the vast network of country teams and members, and the initiative’s maturity.

“Community conservation is at the heart of Reef-World and Green Fins. Activities and initiatives that link communities around the world and provide open access to resources are a key part of a good future. We all have interesting days ahead. After a pandemic that has impacted all over the world, we know we have to face up to changes together and with the right view in our hearts, no matter what we start with today, we can do anything,” said Anne Paranjoti, Founder of The Reef-World Foundation.

“As we move towards 2022 at a rate of knots, we are a stronger, more dynamic and fluid team ready to take on new challenges. The biggest changes to Green Fins since its inception are about to take place and I have every confidence in our team’s ability to ensure that these changes benefit our stakeholders and prioritise coral reef health moving forwards,” said JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation.

“These are difficult and uncertain times but also exciting and a real chance to maximise our potential and the impact that we can have on a global scale with a stronger and bigger team,” he added.

With 32 national and local government agencies or NGO implementing partners engaged, Green Fins now has 82 active assessors, 32% of whom are female. The Green Fins national teams are looking forward to resuming training and assessments as soon as it is possible and safe to do so. In addition, plans for Green Fins’ expansion into Japan and Colombia are in place when travel opens up again.

Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, added: “This year, we were met with challenges we couldn’t have possibly predicted. The best thing about completely being forced to erase an entire year of planned activity is that you can take stock, cut out the background noise, and work out what your stakeholders truly need from you during these difficult times. It was so uplifting to see our core Reef-World team rally together and ride on the support of our partners and network as we redirected our efforts to ensure conservation impact despite the lack of grassroots work. We go into our next operational year stronger than ever, our digital profile specifically so, and we are really excited to start the next chapter of the Reef-World adventure.”

Reef-World would also like to thank its partners whose vital support has resulted in significant tangible benefits for the ocean: PADI; The Matthew Good Foundation; 1% for the Planet; Explorer Ventures; Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS); ZuBlu; GSTC; Dive O’Clock; WildSocks and Charitable Travel.

Find the full 2020–2021 Annual Report here: https://reef-world.org/reefworld-annual-reports

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Joanna Ruxton MBE, filmmaker and conservationist, about her life and work (Watch Video)

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“If you really care about our oceans and ultimately the planet on which we all live then do listen to what Jo Ruxton has to say about how we need to act now if we are to stop and reverse this destructive global trend we have created for ourselves and all other life.”

Jeff Goodman

In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Joanna Ruxton MBE, film maker and conservationist, about her life and work, ‘A Plastic Ocean’ (Netflix) and her new project Ocean Generation.

Jo graduated from London University with a degree in Marine Science.  She started the first marine programme for WWF in Hong Kong, where she raised her family, and was a key advocate for the establishment of the first marine parks there.

She returned to live in the UK and was a Producer at the BBC Natural History Unit and a lead member of the BBC’s diving team, producing and directing underwater sequences since the first days of filming on Blue Planet.

Disappointed in the lack of conservation messages in BBC films, she left in 2008 to work independently to produce, A Plastic Ocean, (Netflix).  She founded the charity, Ocean Generation (formerly Plastic Oceans).

She lives in Cornwall close to her daughters and their families and when not diving on location she enjoys cold-water sea swimming, whatever the season.  Jo was awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours for services to marine conservation.

About Ocean Generation | UK Charity No. 1139843

Ocean Generation is an inclusive global movement that exists to restore a sustainable relationship between humanity and the Ocean.

Founded in 2009, the charity was established initially to support the production and message of our award-winning documentary feature, ‘A Plastic Ocean’, named by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most important films of our time” and ignited mass public awareness about the impact of plastic on our Ocean.

No ordinary NGO, Ocean Generation combines the disruptive energy of a youth collective with years of experience in storytelling through science and film.

Find out more at www.oceangeneration.org


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Incredible underwater Cornish adventure awaits 400 lucky teens

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An education programme and competition, set to change the lives of 400 teenagers has launched to bring the crucial message of marine conservation to the heart of secondary school pupils nationwide.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL in conjunction with PADI the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organisation, believe it is every young person’s right to experience the ocean and that educating children about the wonders of the planet’s marine environment, the crucial part it plays in our existence and that of all ocean life, will help safeguard our seas for future generations.

Dive Project Cornwall has launched the ambitious project to educate hundreds of thousands of young people by delivering an education programme directly into schools across the UK, in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society. Their mission is to raise awareness of the importance of the planet’s marine environment and its vital role in our very own existence.​

At the heart of Dive Project Cornwall is a nationwide competition which will invite pupils to design and document a marine creature using recyclable plastics.

Open to all secondary schools, 400 lucky teenagers will win the experience of a lifetime: a 6-day, life-changing trip to Cornwall where they will learn to scuba dive at a PADI Dive Centre, enjoy outdoor adventures, take up beach-related activities and attend presentations from leading marine industry experts.

This will encourage teenagers to become PADI Open Water Divers and PADI Torchbearers – ocean influencers who positively engage, inspire and motivate the next generation to save our planet.

Registration closes in mid-April and a panel of judges will select the winners on 30th May. The judging panel confirmed to date includes: Emma Samuelsson, Regional Manager, PADI, EMEA; Kim Conchie, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall; Malcolm Bell MBE, Head of Tourism at Visit Cornwall; Trevor Osborne, Chairman, The Trevor Osborne Property Group; Paul Strike, Founder & Director, Fourth Element; and Hannah Tapping, Editor, Cornwall Living & Drift.

Emma Samuelsson, Regional Manager, PADI, EMEA, tells us: “PADI is delighted to partner with Dive Project Cornwall to provide the 400 winning students with PADI Open Water Diver eLearning. PADI Dive Centres in Cornwall will work with the students to complete their in-water training and PADI certification. Scuba diving opens up the underwater world for young people and helps them to develop an understanding and appreciation for it, inspiring them to want to explore and protect it.”

This truly immersive experience will take teens from classroom to shoreline and beyond; from an on-site training pool to taking their first steps in discovering the wonders of life underwater in the ocean, igniting their imaginations to join the Ocean Conservation movement.

Many of these children will never have had the opportunity to experience the ocean close at hand. They will leave this residential course, delivered in the breath-taking environment of the Lizard in Cornwall, based at Porthkerris as PADI qualified open water divers, ready to spread the word as ocean influencers.

Find out more and register for the competition at www.diveprojectcornwall.co.uk/the-competition

Image credit: Jake Tims

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