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UK restaurants serving extinction



British restaurant goers ordering shark fin soup are highly likely to be consuming endangered shark species without knowing, according to Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation.

The UK charity is advising diners to avoid all shark fin dishes after DNA research by Exeter University discovered shark fins from endangered scalloped hammerhead and threatened shortfin mako sharks among generically-labelled shark fin products on sale at an Asian food wholesaler. The fins were destined for the restaurant trade.

Once the fins are removed from the shark, dehydrated and packaged it is extremely difficult to know which species they came from.

Campaign director at Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation, Graham Buckingham, said: “We’re making huge strides in shark conservation but the continued appearance of shark fin soup on menus confounds us. Out of the 10 fins analysed by the university, two came from species that are either endangered or threatened. Clearly anyone ordering shark fin soup, or buying the ingredient, could be contributing to the extinction of rare and majestic sharks. It’s time that British restaurants ditched this highly controversial dish.”

Carcasses of finned sharks on the seabed, South East Asia. Image: Scubazoo

In recent years shark fins have become one of the most valuable seafood items in the world. Demand for shark fin soup is a primary reason for the slaughter of around 73 million sharks by global fishing fleets every year. Bite-Back likens the hunting of sharks for fins to a marine ‘gold rush’.  The rarity of the shark determines the price of its fins.

Wildlife expert and TV presenter Steve Backshall is the patron of Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation. He said: “Right now one in four shark species is listed as endangered or threatened. It’s clear that demand for shark fin soup could wipe out many of the ocean’s most remarkable and fascinating predators. This DNA research is all the evidence you need to know that it’s simply not okay to eat shark fin soup.”

Since 2004 Bite-Back’s campaign has helped prompt an 81% decline in the number of restaurants serving shark fin soup in the UK including the country’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan. However there are still at least a dozen establishments across the country serving the controversial dish.

The charity is campaigning to rid Britain of all shark products by 2022.

For more information about Bite-Back please visit their website by clicking here.


Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap



The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)



It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!


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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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