Greening the Blue Planet through Responsible Tourism
Today, Blue Certified and Green Fins announce their partnership to spread sustainable scuba diving and snorkeling around the world. With an increase in tourism and threats to marine ecosystems, the role of scuba diving operators in preserving environmental, social, and cultural integrity, and promoting the awareness of responsible scuba diving and snorkeling behavior is critical. Diving and snorkeling centers are uniquely positioned to act within their own communities and among customers to encourage positive and lasting change.
Green Fins provides the world’s most widely adopted and freely available practical guidance for divers, industry and government on reducing the direct threats posed by diving and snorkeling activities. Blue Certified offers state of the art tools to enhance the operating sustainability of dive operations. While either program can be picked up individually, together they offer a powerhouse of resources and tools designed to overcome industry environmental challenges.
“We are excited to join forces with the Green Fins movement which reflects our passion for ocean conservation,” shared Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, Executive Director of Ocean First Institute. “Together, we recognize that dive operators are in the best position to see and document changes on their reefs and local habitats. The opportunity to safeguard the health of reefs and marine life is literally in their hands. Our goal is to provide support for sustainable practices and guidance in green business operations through our complementary programs. When we protect our dive sites, we are investing in our own long term health and local economic vitality.”
Established through a partnership between UN Environment and Reef-World, Green Fins provides the only internationally recognized set of environmental standards with a comprehensive management approach to provide guidance and support for business owners and national authorities to promote best practices. Assessments are carried out and those showing annual improvement in following the Code of Conduct are awarded certificates, allowing tourists to choose environmentally responsible options. Over 400 dive and snorkel operators across six countries have signed up for free membership, and are using Green Fins as a platform to set examples of sustainable business operations.
“The Green Fins network has been working towards sustainable diving for 13 years and we’re so pleased to see the movement gaining momentum and to be able to team up with new initiatives and projects like Blue Certified” explained Chloë Harvey of Reef-World. “Coral reefs are desperately at threat from a multitude of different impacts globally. By reducing direct local threats associated with diving and snorkeling activities, we can improve the resilience of corals to fight back against other more wide scale threats such as climate change. Through this collaboration we will be able to help more people lead change in the industry. Today it’s more important than ever to put our Green Fins forwards!”
Blue Certified simplifies sustainability. The program enables businesses to learn best practices, build action plans for implementation, download data tracking templates, and customize management plans, while monitoring progress over time. Developed by Ocean First Institute, in partnership with Sustainable Travel International, Blue Certified provides scuba dive operators with the tools to perform better for themselves, the environment, their local community, and their customers.
Added Blue Certified’s Program Manager, Deby Stabler, “Imagine a vacation that improves the destination you are visiting. By supporting dive shops that are doing the right thing, the whole community benefits, from tourism dollars boosting local economic development to protecting the very reefs tourists seek to experience.”
About Green Fins
Green Fins is paving the way to unite politics and marine conservation efforts to ensure the sustainability of popular diving destinations around the world. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centers, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government. The approach is proven, replicable and freely available to everyone. For more information, visit www.greenfins.net
About Blue Certified
Blue Certified enables dive businesses to plan for sustainability by using globally recognized criteria specifically designed for dive operators. With partnerships throughout the dive industry, the Blue Certified program is preserving the livelihood of the dive industry and the health of marine environments. For more information, visit www.bluecertified.org.
Read the original press release here.