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It is really important that you teach your customers about the importance of the marine environment as well as ensure that together you are taking all necessary precautions to not negatively impact it. The tips below are easily supported by using the ICONS poster which can be downloaded and used in your briefings. Our research has shown that the more your customers understand about the environment they dive in, the more enjoyable they find their experience. So speak up and you might even get some tips!
Before every dive, you should inform your customers about how fragile the marine environment is and remind all guests to not touch or to come into contact with the coral reefs. Green Fins has an outline of a model dive and boat briefing that you can download and share which promotes a non-intrusive approach to diving. Alternatively read on to find out more.
Anchors are heavy and often have a long chain attached. When dropped onto a fragile coral or even seagrass beds, it causes sigificant ecological damage. If the boat changes direction with wind or currents it will cause even more damage as the chain is dragged over the reef. Instead, use mooring buoys or drift until the divers surface. It also sets a good example for others and creates awareness.
The following is information you must know before diving. By following these simple instructions you are helping to preserve the marine environment for future generations.
Coral animals are very fragile and take a long time to grow. By stepping on the coral it will break, or you could damage the surface of the coral as well as cut your feet. Coral is very sensitive to being touched and the smallest contact can kill or infection the animal. Watch your feet and fins at all times.
As you swim, your fins create a wash that can cause sediment and small debris to upset habitats and cover corals. This will reduce the photosynthetic efficiency of the coral and can cause it to die. It can also lead to small animals being washed away or increase their chance of predation.
This can cause great stress to any animal and through touch you may transmit diseases or remove protective coatings on fish, mammals, invertebrates and other species. Look but never touch and try not to get too close.
This has become a wide-scale problem the world over. Feeding fish or any other species can lead to them becoming reliant upon that food source. It makes fish more aggressive towards divers and can lead to species interacting with others which they wouldn't natrually come into contact with. It can also lead to corals getting smothered in algae as fish no longer eat the algae but eat the food instead. It also increases the amount of nutrients in the water leading to an inbalance within the ecosystem.
There are many problems with marine litter ranging from turtles eating plastic bags and fish eating cigarette butts to chemicals in rubbish contaminating the water and entering the food chain. As we are top of the food chain, this can result in us eating fish that have been poisoned. Bin it, don’t throw it.
By simply wearing the gloves you are given a false sense of security which may lead you to holding on underwater. This can cause corals to break, or allow you to get too close to marine life by holding onto rocks and can lead to you harming yourself as gloved will not actually provide reliable protection against dangerous marine life.
Don't manipulate marine life
It is very important that all divers respect the marine environment and only observe the sensitive and fragile species that live within it. All divers should refrain from intrusive and damaging interactions such as handling marine life or manipulating it. Using your hand, dive or muck sticks, knives or anything else to move or to come into contact with corals and other marine fauna can cause damage, kill it or may even be illegal. Green Fins also recommends improving your buoyancy skills over relying on tools to maintain your position underwater.
Don’t buy souvenirs of corals or marine life – this encourages people to remove tons of alive or dead marine life from marine ecosystems each year for selling to tourists. If we didn’t buy it then people wouldn’t collect it. Leave it where it belongs.
By donating to any project helping to conserve the environment, your money will go a long way towards reducing the negative impacts from manmade sources. Give what you can and help reverse trends today. By participating in such projects you can lend a helping hand for the environment and help educate others. A little help from everybody goes a long way.
Green Fins is against the shark fin trade which single handedly results in tens of millions of sharks being killed each year globally. Some shark species have dropped by 90% over the last 50 years. The sharks are killed for their highly prized fins which are used in soups and other meals. Removing these top predators is highly damaging to the ecology of our seas. Don’t eat in restaurants that sell shark products.
Removing species that would normally breakdown and be recycled by the ecosystem leaves other animals without nutrients and elements that they need for growth. Even empty shells on the beach play their part. Take nothing.
Do as much as you can to help organisations and projects who aim to help the natural environment.
Something missing? If there is something that you think should be here, e-mail us and we’ll get back to you.