Author: James Harvey, The Reef-World Foundation
As you might have already seen in the first part of this series, the Reef-World Foundation, in partnership with online platform, Divebooker, has developed a unique and fresh approach to protecting coral reefs in some of the most pristine and attractive marine tourist spots.
Since 2004, Reef-World has been working alongside the UN Environment, governments and diving businesses to protect and conserve coral reefs with Green Fins, an initiative that manages sustainable diving by changing laws, behaviours and attitudes of the marine environment. As international coordinators of the Green Fins initiative, Reef-World has reduced threats from over 500 dive centres across eight countries in Asia. “Green Fins shares Evolution’s goal in promoting a sustainable dive industry that can grow without harming the precious marine environment that we rely on. It means a lot to be able to promote this goal with like-minded members from many countries,” says Matt Reed, owner of Evolution Dive Resort (Green Fins Top 10 member).
How it works is simple. Green Fins is a free programme for dive centres to join. They will be trained and assessed by a qualified team of Green Fins assessors and given practical solutions to everyday risks. This ranges from providing advice on recommended instructor behaviour to instructions on how to provide pre-dive briefings using specially designed briefing cards.
With the increasing threats of climate change and other local threats becoming more apparent, the importance of helping to protect the sensitive marine habitat is increasing. “After 26 years in the (diving) industry, I’ve witnessed many changes in the marine environment: depletion of fish in general, exponential increase of plastic debris, but mainly a spectacular increase in the diving population,” remarks JC Cergneux, owner of Fun & Sun Dive and Travel (Green Fins Member).
With these recent changes in the marine environment, current conservation initiatives are having to focus on new strategies and think outside the box to encourage divers to book with responsible dive operators that have been accredited.
In collaboration with Divebooker, Reef-World is putting the power in the hands of divers. At no additional cost to the diver, Green Fins centres will donate 5% of each online booking to support Green Fins. These raised funds will help protect dive sites in popular diving destinations.
As with all partnerships, it must be a win-win situation, and the benefits of each stakeholder in this collaboration is clear and concise:
- The tourist who books a Green Fins diver centre is helping to protect the reefs through the 5% donation.
- Reef-World will allocate the donations by dedicating more time and resources to Green Fins work.
- All Green Fins members enjoy waived commission at Divebooker. In return, Divebooker receives more bookings while looking out for the health of reefs.
- Dive centres also benefit from additional bookings as Divebooker will prioritise and promote Green Fins members, ranking them higher in searches.
Evolution Dive Resort and Fun & Sun are Green Fins members that are already experiencing the benefits of this partnership, JC says, “It’s a good way to raise awareness within the diving community and create a win-win situation.” Matt Reed, owner of Evolution Dive Resort, testifies, “Anything and everything that helps create zero impact diving is welcome. Customers who are aware of their donation at the point of booking are more likely to be conscious of their practices when they go diving. We love to welcome divers who choose environmentally-friendly dive operators.”
Next time you decide to book a dive trip online, make sure to choose a Green Fins dive centre at Divebooker! You will be directly supporting dive centres that care for the dive sites, which means a more enjoyable and rewarding dive for you!