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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World launches Green Fins cleanup guidelines

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New guidelines for conducting environmentally friendly beach and underwater cleanups

The international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – has launched new Green Fins cleanup guidelines to help dive and snorkel operators organise and host environmentally friendly coastal cleanups.

The guidelines guide dive professionals step-by-step through everything they’ll need to consider before, during and after beach and underwater cleanups. The guidance includes: how to choose a suitable location; promoting your event; briefing and educating participants; documentation of the event; best practice for underwater trash collection; tips for promoting your event; and data collection methods and reporting to initiatives that can use this information to shape global policy.

Samantha Craven, Programmes Manager at Reef-World, said: “Trash in our oceans is a serious problem that threatens the marine environment and dependent livelihoods. Around 80% of marine trash comes from land-based sources and, although it is an entirely man-made problem, it is also entirely preventable. As well as refusing single-use items, reducing your waste, reusing items and recycling trash, you can become part of the solution by taking part in, or running, beach and underwater cleanup events and recording your data to influence long-term solutions and decision making.

“We’ve been so impressed to see so many Green Fins members organising cleanups as soon as they were able to resume activities. Every event will make a difference, however big or small! Our new guidelines have been created to help marine tourism operators who are conducting beach and underwater cleanups do so in an environmentally friendly way while providing education on marine debris issues during the event. This guidance – which includes key things to consider before, during and after the cleanup – will help ensure no further damage is caused to marine ecosystems while teams are removing marine debris.”

The Green Fins cleanup guidelines are available free of charge for Green Fins members and non-members alike. They can be downloaded here.

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or www.greenfins.net.

Marine Life & Conservation

New Scottish MPAs to offer protection for iconic marine species

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Minke whale, basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins will be among a wide range of biodiversity and geological features to be safeguarded following the designation of four new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

A further 12 sites have been given Special Protection Area status, providing additional protection to Scotland’s vulnerable marine birds including sea ducks, divers, grebes and our iconic seabirds.

A total of 230 sites are now subject to marine protection measures, covering around 227,622 square kilometres – 37% – of Scotland’s seas. The West of Scotland MPA, Europe’s largest Marine Protected Area, was designated in September and is regarded by the Convention on Biological Diversity as “internationally significant”.

Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “It is our duty to help protect and enhance our marine environment so that it remains a prized asset for future generations. These designations continue Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on environmental protection.

“Not only are our seas fundamental to our way of life, they provide habitats for a hugely diverse range of marine wildlife and it is vital that we ensure appropriate protection for them.

“Scotland’s waters are home to many unique species and these designations ensure our MPA network is fully representative of our marine diversity, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030.

“Protecting Scotland’s marine environment is also crucial for supporting the sustainable recovery of our marine industries and these designations will form a key element of our Blue Economy Action Plan.”

The four new Marine Protected Areas are:

  • North-east Lewis: The protected features include Risso’s dolphins and sandeels.
  • Sea of the Hebrides: The largest of the four new MPAs. The protected features include basking sharks and minke whale.
  • Shiant East Bank: Located in the middle of the Minch, the sea which separates the Outer Hebrides from the Scottish mainland. The protected features include sponge habitats and sea fans, a variety of coral.
  • Southern Trench.The protected features include minke whale.

The sites receiving Special Protection Area status are:

  • Solway Firth
  • Seas off St Kilda
  • Seas off Foula
  • Moray Firth
  • Ythan Estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch (extension)
  • Outer Firth of Forth and Outer St Andrews Bay complex
  • Bluemull and Colgrave Sounds
  • East Mainland Coast Shetland
  • Sound of Gigha
  • Coll and Tiree
  • Rum
  • West Coast of the Outer Hebrides

The announcement by the Scottish Government is great news for marine life in Scotland!

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Marine Life & Conservation

Video Series: The CCMI Reef Lectures – Part 4 (Watch Video)

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Introduced by Jeff Goodman

Never before since human beings have had major influence over our earths climate and environments, have we come to so close to the brink of global disaster for our seas and marine life. We need to act now if we are not going to crash headlong into irreversible scenarios.

A good start to this is understanding how the marine environment works and what it means to our own continued survival. We can only do this by listening and talking to those with the experience and knowledge to guide us in the right direction.

CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute) are hosting an annual Reef Lecture series that is open to the general public and Scubaverse will be sharing those lectures over the coming months.


Part 4: Stop Whining! Life as an Ocean Ambassador; Ellen Cuylaerts

Ellen Cuylaerts shares her insights on how to act, practice what you preach and use your voice to contribute to constructive change. Ellen is a wildlife and underwater photographer and chooses to take images of subjects that are hard to encounter like harp seal pups, polar bears, orcas, beluga whales and sharks, to name a few. By telling the stories about their environment and the challenges they face, she raises awareness about the effect of climate change on arctic species, the cruel act of shark finning and keeping marine mammals in captivity.

During this seminar, Ellen will take you on a virtual trip and show you the stories behind the shots: how to get there, how to prepare, how to create the most chances to come home with a shot, and how to never give up!

Ellen Cuylaerts is an ocean advocate, underwater & wildlife photographer, explorer, and public speaker.


For more information about the CCMI click here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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