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Marine Life & Conservation

Taking on the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge



We have long been supporters of the Marine Conservation Society, so when we saw that they had created a challenge to give up single use plastic for the month of June, we decided it was a challenge worth attempting. After all – how hard can it be?

So, what is the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge all about? The MCS wanted to raise both awareness and money, by creating #plasticchallenge. Those taking part agreed to give up single use plastic for as long as they possibly could during the month of June. Huge quantities of this single use plastic ends up in our seas, rivers and oceans and ultimately kills and maims marine life all over the world. Many species can easily mistake a plastic bag for a jelly fish, the micro-plastic that has broken down is eaten by fish, or the bigger animals – like basking sharks – might simply scoop it up accidentally. What we do know is that throughout the world, dead marine life is turning up with their stomachs full of plastic, or bands from beer cans wrapped around their torso. The one obvious solution is to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that we use and then cast away.

Plastic Challenge

We very quickly discovered that we needed to change everything about the way we shopped. We had already stopped using plastic carrier bags many years ago, so this aspect was not a challenge for us, but nearly everything else (apart from beer and wine – phew) was difficult. We do not eat ready-made meals, as Nick is a bit of a wiz in the kitchen, so again, that was already easier for us to adapt – but so much salad and veg is pre-wrapped with plastic trays and covering, that buying from local shops and supermarkets was to prove extremely difficult. Some veg was possible, such as leeks and butternut squash, but the choice was limited. The solution to this was very easy for us, as we have a nearby vegan organic supermarket (Unicorn Grocery) that provides old fashioned paper bags for veg – so there was one problem solved. But what about toilet roll, cereal (so many products have a nice cardboard exterior – with a horrible plastic bag within), frozen food, etc? Nick started making things we would normally buy pre-prepared, like hummus, pasta and pizzas, which takes more time, but is ultimately healthier for us (as well as for the planet). As fruit juice is either in plastic bottles, or has a plastic cap, we had to make our own at home. We now have a traditional milkman to deliver glass bottles of milk.

All the supermarkets we visited were willing to put cheese and meats into a re-usable container that we took with us, although we did get some funny looks! We made more regular visits to local independent shops, such as the pet shop that sells locally made dog treats that Paddy (our golden retriever) could walk in a select himself. This has now become a bit of in issue though, as we get dragged to the pet shop on every visit to the shops! Bathroom products such as toothpaste and shampoo cannot be bought in the usual supermarket deals, but a trip into Manchester centre gave us the chance to pop into Lush, who have an amazing range of eco-friendly products.

Nick 3

A lifestyle on the go makes this challenge even harder. We have to do a fair bit of traveling within the UK and overseas. You cannot just pull over at a motorway service station and buy some sandwiches or snacks as these are all wrapped in plastic (apart from the odd pie), so you have to think ahead.

Doing the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge has been a fantastic experience. We will not stop thinking about this at the end of June, but instead use the experience to continue reducing the amount of single use plastic that we buy and then throw away on a daily basis. Have a go, for a day, week or month for yourselves. It gives you a real understanding of the massive scale of the problem facing us.

If you like what we did, or if this has inspired you in any way, or if you just want to support an excellent charity that strives to protect our marine life – then please donate what you can here.

For more information about the Marine Conservation Society, visit

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship



Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”

Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February



There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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