A swim in the right direction...
As part of efforts to preserve its stunning Red Sea coral reefs, Egypt is to implement international initiative, Green Fins, reports Oceanographic Magazine.
Internationally coordinated by the Reef-World Foundation in partnership with UN Environment, the Green Fins initiative is the only internationally recognised environmental standards established for the diving and snorkeling field. Based on a fifteen-point code of conduct, this conservation-management approach aims to and calls for the decrease of human negative impacts on the environment that could be caused by the activities of diving and snorkeling. Egypt has officially launched this movement in efforts to help protect the Red Sea coral reefs by monitoring said activities.
Green Fins has only been adopted by 10 other countries worldwide and nearly 600 individual marine tourism companies since it's founding in 2004, Egypt being the first country in the Middle East. With a focus on improving sustainability practices in the adoptive country's marine tourism sector, the initiative will be implemented in both the South Sinai governorate - starting September - and the Red Sea governorate starting March 2020. The Green Fins initiative is launched and active in 56 diving hotspots across South East Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and the Caribbean, and now the Red Sea.
With Egypt attracting an estimate of three million divers and snorkelers visiting the Red Sea region in an average year, a total of 11.3 million tourists in 2018 alone and 8.3 million in 2017, the popular holiday destination is home to almost 500 businesses in the Red Sea diving and snorkeling activity sector. This initiative will help sustain the ethics of the practices of 30 marine tourism operators, training 150 dive guides and raising awareness on sustainability. Calling for and empowering members of the diving community to find alternatives and reduce harmful marine practices like anchoring, fish feeding and chemical pollution. Members of the initiative who sign up and officially adopt to the standards, receive annual assessments, training and feedback to help reduce the negative impact, in line with the Code of Conduct. The launch of Green Fins Egypt came with financing support from the United Nations Development Programme.
"As one of the original global diving destinations, the diving community in Egypt has shaped the way we dive and travel today… Through Green Fins, dive and snorkel operators in the region can improve their environmental best practices and reduce their negative impact on coral reefs; helping to conserve these vital ecosystems for many generations to come," said Chloe Harvey, Director at the Reef-World Foundation. "The programme is initially launching in South Sinai Governorate with the Red Sea Governorate to follow, so we urge dive operators in both regions to get in touch if they are interested in proving they follow environmental best practice by achieving a Green Fins certification.”
You can donate to the initiative at the bottom of this page.
Main Image Courtesy of Scott Johnson