SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 17, October 2016 - Page 86

What is the main benefit you’ve found by being a Green Fins member?

Our membership helps us to bring the message of protecting the underwater world to all our divers and get them passionate about the environment. But most of all, our dive masters and instructors are able to lean on the code of conduct. These best practices are the rules in our dive center, so they can use that to manage our customers. We’ve trained them to use the Green Fins icons in their briefings before a dive to emphasize to divers the need to dive with good buoyancy and teach them how to take care of the reef.

Can you tell us the biggest challenge of implementing the Code of Conduct on your day-to-day business practices?

It can be a challenge to deal with divers who are used to wear gloves and to convince them not to use them; especially in the colder time of the year, but it’s important to us because gloves give the mentality that touching marine life is safe – but it’s not! Underwater photographers can be a big challenge as well, especially if they have many years of experience - it can be difficult to come and correct them if they are using the reef to steady themselves for a shot. But with the code of conduct we have our back covered and it is easier to tell the divers what must be corrected to continue diving with us.

Have you noticed a significant change on the diving industry in Puerto Galera thanks to the presence of Green Fins?

We can see much less divers feeding the batfish at Sabang Wrecks, so that is very positive. More and more dive shops are becoming Green Fins members, which is very positive as well. It gives more environmental awareness to the divers in this area.

Do you think tourists are now choosing dive centres working on that extra mile to protect the marine environment?

Until now we have not received bookings where they specific choose our dive center because we are Green Fins members. But we are sure most of our guests notice our membership with the materials and certificates displayed and appreciate what we do for the environment.

What does it mean to you to be a Green Fins Top 10 member?

We are very very proud of being number one Green Fins member of the world. It means we know that we are keeping up our good practices and continue trying to find improvements all the time, to become better ambassadors for the underwater environment. We want future generations to experience the same beauty of the underwater world, which we are enjoying now.