12 Oct Green Fins Indonesia: We’re Expanding
The flamboyant cuttlefish, a bucket-list species for many muck divers, dazzles curious onlookers with a stunning display of pulsing colors. For a small group of divers recently gathered in Ambon, however, the flamboyant cuttlefish was merely a distraction from the task at hand—observing how divers interact with each other and their environment.
The group had gathered for a training of assessors for Green Fins (GF), an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme and Reef-World Foundation to promote environmentally responsible snorkel and scuba dive tourism. The international network of GF members and affiliates includes dive centers and government bodies, non-profit organizations, universities and individuals who promote the GF Code of Conduct (CoC). As a set of best practices, the CoC is designed to reduce risk to the environment by prohibiting activities like anchoring on corals or seagrass, touching marine life and fish feeding.
GF assessors work with GF members to help their dive and snorkel operations become more environmentally friendly. Dive centers can become a member of Green Fins for free, but they must formally commit to following the CoC, undergo an annual GF assessment, support environmental training for their staff and make continual progress towards achieving the environmental standards described in the CoC.
Until this training, only two active assessors – both CTC staff members – handled the GF program in Indonesia. With funding from the USAID-SEA Project and the US Embassy of Indonesia, seven additional divers were certified as assessors in October, trained by two Reef World representatives and the two current GF Indonesia assessors. The new recruits represent CTC, Institut Pertanian Bogor, Universitas Pattimura, Universitas Khairun, and Universitas Papua, and they expand GF Indonesia’s geographic reach – previously limited to Bali and Komodo – to the Jakarta area and provinces of Maluku, North Maluku, and West Papua.
The expanded network of assessors will help meet the growing demand by dive centers eager to implement environmentally responsible practices and be recognized for their commitment. Their leadership, along with divers who preferentially patronize businesses that prioritize environmental integrity, will help ensure that flamboyant cuttlefish persist far into the future in Ambon and elsewhere.
For more information on Green Fins, visit https://www.greenfins.net/.