|Town/Region||Puerto Galera, Mindoro|
|Categories||Corals, Education, Marine|
|Date||15 Nov 2010|
Healthy and pristine coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate and an ever growing number of scuba divers are travelling to more remote destinations in an attempt to reach these underwater wonders. These coral reefs are the foundations upon which the global diving industry has been built, but irresponsible diving practices can threaten the very ecosystem the business has been built on. Green Fins promotes an environmental code of conduct to help manage this exploding industry and minimise the risks it poses to coral reefs and associated ecosystems. Furthermore, dive centres that voluntarily join the programme are evaluated against a set criterion by trained Green Fins Assessors and advised on how to improve environmental practices within their business.
Green Fins is a project supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which connects national and local governments, the dive and snorkel centres, local NGOs and tourists. Through the Green Fins Network these stakeholders are educated about marine ecology and better environmental practices for a sustainable tourism industry. The project is currently active in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and now the Philippines and is managed by the appropriate Government Department in each country.
Membership listings on the Green Fins websites, advertisement on dive centre websites and a certificate of participation helps tourists to choose responsible dive centres. A number of educational materials are displayed in Green Fins dive shops and aboard the dive boats. Dive guides have access to education which encourages them to be responsible role models underwater and to use Green Fins Guidelines to give comprehensive environmental briefings before dives. Green Fins also promotes reef monitoring as a tool to educate people about coral reef ecology and to provide decision makers with important data about coral reef health. Green Fins dive centres are given a toolkit which includes the necessary materials and associated training support to enable them to conduct Reef Watch surveys, the monitoring method of the Green Fins Programme.
With this support from the RSGF the Regional Coordinators of the project, the Reef-World Foundation, will give the Government officials and key individuals from the stakeholder groups all the tools necessary to manage the programme in the Philippines. This includes standardised materials, training and technical advice. Training will draw on experiences from across the region and includes Green Fins Assessor training, recruiting dive centres, project management and training divers about marine ecology and environmental issues.
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