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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World Releases New Sustainability Study

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The Reef-World Foundation released a new report summarising the results from an online survey conducted from April to June 2022, which received over 2,400 responses from various demographics. The study reveals new travel trends and how important sustainability is regarded in this new era of tourism as the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Reef-World hopes for the report to assist in this rehabilitation process and aid marine tourism businesses, local governments and communities to not only bounce back better but also prepare themselves for a bright future of travel, all whilst protecting the ocean.

This survey has highlighted some really encouraging trends,” said Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation. “The Gen Z and Millennials, those with the biggest buying power today and tomorrow, are seeking out experiences that align with their sustainability values. They are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings and are wanting to educate themselves and be involved in meaningful environmental activities while on holiday. This is so positive for both the industry and the environment upon which it is built. It’s given us a sneak peek into the future of marine tourism; one where sustainability is no longer a competitive edge, but a minimum requirement. We’re proud that the Green Fins approach and tools remain at the cutting edge, delivering on the needs of the industry and the consumer as we move into this new era of tourism.”

The report has identified some of the key narratives that will drive the market in the future and insights to help businesses take advantage of these trends for the future sustainability of their business and the environment it is built on. One main highlight from the report is that the demands from dive tourists have shifted since the pandemic.

Emerging from a travel hiatus, they now want more sustainable holiday options and more transparency around options coined as environmentally friendly during their dive trips. While 75% of dive tourists are willing to pay more for sustainability, they fear spending more on their holidays due to the risk of contributing money towards “greenwashing”. The tourism industry needs a brand-conscious, transparent, and effective global green label to address that.

The industry professionals (guides, instructors, business owners) have also spoken. The data clearly suggests they seek more environmental education and tools to raise environmental awareness, both for themselves and their customers. From their perspective, the fact that these are lacking represents the single biggest challenge for them on achieving their sustainability goals in their workplace. An overwhelming majority of dive professionals think dive operators, including the operations they work in, should do more to protect the environment. Dive tourists are also calling on marine tourism operators to do better. They believe these businesses profit from tourism and therefore have a responsibility to protect the environment and surrounding ecosystems they work in and should be held accountable for their actions.

The Reef-World Foundation leads the global implementation of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally. Green Fins offers the world’s first independent certificate to stop the environmental impact from marine-based tourism. It is a proven conservation management approach that leads to a measurable reduction in the negative environmental impacts of marine tourism.

The survey, conducted with the support of Reef-World’s partners, PADI, RAID, PSS and ZuBlu, proves that tourists will be increasingly voting with their wallets and selecting businesses and brands that align with their values for sustainability and preservation of our incredible ocean ecosystems.

To learn how the key findings from the survey can help marine tourism businesses to bounce back from the pandemic while keeping sustainability at the forefront, download the full report.

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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