The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinator of Green Fins – and Reef Check Malaysia are pleased to announce that Bahasa Malaysia-speaking dive and snorkel operators can now benefit from environmental resources in their first language.
The Green Fins programme is resuming in the country after a pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The newly translated Green Fins posters and guidelines are designed to help marine tourism operators understand their impact on the environment and empower them to adopt more sustainable practices.
Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less resilient to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris and the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures.
Dive and snorkel operators being able to understand the issues faced and educate others is hugely important to the local environment and community, especially when Malaysia is a part of the Coral Triangle as well. Having access to readily available materials in their first language will help Bahasa Malaysia speakers learn how to protect coral reefs by adopting sustainable tourism behaviours and empower local guides to teach best practice to their guests whatever their level of English.
JJ Harvey, Director at Reef-World, said: “We’re thrilled that our educational materials are now available to Bahasa Malaysia speakers. With Green Fins being a global initiative, it’s important for us to communicate and educate as effectively as possible and translating materials into Bahasa Malaysia allows us to reach even more people than before leading to greater impact.”
Samantha Craven, Programmes Manager at Reef-World, said: “The face-to-face environmental training sessions given by the Green Fins national teams to dive shop members in their local language are invaluable to building the environmental knowledge of their staff and crew. That’s why we’re delighted to build on this by providing our suite of tools and resources in Bahasa Malaysia to help even more marine tourism operators improve their sustainable practices.”
Alvin Chelliah, Senior Programme Manager at Reef Check Malaysia, said: “Many local boatmen, compressor boys, snorkel guides, divers and snorkellers aren’t fluent in English. Also, with the restarting of tourism in Malaysia, more local tourists are travelling and exploring destinations close to home. Having the Green Fins materials in Bahasa Malaysia makes it easier to get the message across to a much wider range of people that are visiting the reefs, which could have more impact on raising awareness and taking actions to protect them. We hope this will encourage more dive and snorkel operators to use them with their guests.”
Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. It provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance. Green Fins was first launched in Malaysia back in 2004 and is available to dive and snorkel operators nationwide.
Green Fins members are evaluated annually based on a 15-point code of conduct, which measures the company’s impact on coral reefs: of a possible score of 330, the lower the score, the lower its impact. The assessment then enables Green Fins assessors to offer practical alternatives to the most pressing threats posed by that business.
Download the Bahasa Malaysia Green Fins materials here.
For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or www.greenfins.net. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.
Stranded dolphin rescued from muddy inlet
At around 11:40 on Friday 16 February, a lone common dolphin was reported to British Divers Marine Life Rescue circling in the shallows in an inlet at Place, near Portscatho, in Cornwall. A couple of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics were sent down initially to monitor the animal in hope it would be able to get away by itself, and further assess the situation.
After an hour and a half or so of observation, the risk of stranding increased significantly as the tide went out as the inlet is very shallow, muddy and almost completely dries out over low tide. Therefore, a larger response team was dispatched with more equipment in preparation for a stranding. Indeed, the animal did soon strand in the mud and fell onto its side, submerging the blowhole. Luckily the team were on hand to help get it upright again quickly, then bring it ashore for a health assessment and to begin providing first aid. No obvious injuries could be found and it measured 2.03m, later confirmed as female.
The team were soon joined by two vets, who were able to confirm the animal to be in moderate nutritional condition and appeared otherwise okay following a more detailed health check, and so was suitable for the team to attempt to refloat. However, it was not possible to refloat it safely in the inlet due to the nature of the geography, substrate and tide there it seemed the most likely reason this dolphin had stranded was due to getting disoriented in this location, and would struggle to get out again. Luckily a local resident had his boat tender moored nearby and was happy to use it a transport craft to take the dolphin out to deeper water.
With help, the boat was slid across the mud and launched near the mouth of the inlet. A surfboard was placed on one side with a soft mat on top for the dolphin to lie comfortably on during the journey. When ready, the dolphin was carried across in a tarpaulin, transferred to a mesh stretcher and loaded on board with a team of four Medics including a vet.
The boat then carefully made its way out to the mouth of the Percuil River, facing into Carrick Roads and close to open sea, which was the most ideal site for release where the chance of returning and re-stranding was lower. The dolphin was carefully hauled overboard in the stretcher and held alongside briefly, though as she started kicking strongly almost straight away it was hard to keep hold and so she was released quickly. The boat retreated and the team observed her circling in the middle of the channel until she was lost from sight. The team returned to the inlet before darkness fell.
The area will be monitored over the weekend for re-sightings or re-strandings, but it is hoped that she will recover successfully and continue back out to sea. In the meantime BDMLR would like to thank the volunteer team, local residents and members of the public for all their efforts and support throughout this incident.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue is an international marine animal rescue organisation based in the UK and is a registered charity. The aims of the organisation are to provide a rescue service for marine wildlife, to support existing rehabilitation centres and to develop new methods of rescue, treatment, transport and care. Website www.bdmlr.org.uk.
Photos: Dan Jarvis
Mother of Corals Announces Ambassador Program
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Join Mother of Corals in beautiful Bocas del Toro, Panama to learn about coral restoration projects from start to finish. This course is designed for students, environmentalists, divers, soon-to-be-divers and anyone seeking to become a catalyst for positive change in coral reef conservation. Join Mother of Corals on a transformative journey to become a Mother of Corals Ambassador and contribute to the preservation of one of Earth’s most vital ecosystems.
Sessions begin in April 2024! For more information, contact Mother of Corals via their website.
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