Protecting marine ecosystems in MFF countries using the Green Fins approach

Regional reef managers get ready to dive

Regional reef managers get ready to dive, Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines © JJHarvey/ReefWorld, 2013


Strengthen the conservation and wise management of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems by encouraging environmentally responsible diving tourism through implementation of the Green Fins approach.

In particular:

  • To introduce the Green Fins approach in MFF countries;
  • To increase awareness amongst relevant stakeholders of the importance of reducing the pressure of the tourism industry;
  • To build capacity in recording and measuring indicators related to industry environmental practices, coral reef health and threats; and
  • To promote compliance with laws and regulations governing the tourism industry, and generate recommendations for their further development. 


There is abundant evidence that the diving and snorkeling tourism industry can have a negative impact on the marine and coastal environment. While there is willingness in the diving industry to care for coral reefs as the industry’s primary asset, capacity is often limited. Access to guidance on relevant procedures and approaches to support the dive industry to implement responsible environmental practice is insufficient. This means that threats from irresponsible diving as well as other activities associated with diving industry development persist.

This regional initiative aims to effect change within the diving industry and among local communities in two MFF countries through the implementation of the Green Fins approach, a tool for supporting adoption and implementation of best practice. The project will enhance understanding of the diving industry and current relevant environmental policies in participating countries through assessment, review and consultation; establish and train National Teams comprising of relevant national bodies and groups to implement the Green Fins approach in the target countries; and carry out specific activities aimed at the protection and wise management of coral reefs by following the Green Fins code of conduct.

Training of primary stakeholders including dive staff and resort managers as well as national and local government representatives and local communities will encourage the diving tourism industry to implement various environmental practices according to a set standard, leading to measurable improvements in practices within the industry as well as a greater understanding of the threats posed by marine recreational activities. In doing so the initiative will contribute to sound management of coral reefs, helping sustain the environmental services on which both the tourism industry and local communities depend. It will also support and promote development of regulatory frameworks relevant to the diving industry. 

Target beneficiaries

Staff and guests of dive and snorkel operators in Maldives and Viet Nam as well as local communities, to reduce their impacts on the environment while helping local government departments achieve their environmental targets.


Phase 1 - Assessment


  • ‘Situation analysis’ of the diving industry
  • Assessment of current environmental policies or standards for the diving industry
  • Capacity and needs assessment of relevant actors and potential partners of Green Fins National Teams


  • Country reports on diving industry, practices and impacts on coral reefs and local communities
  • Catalogue of individuals or groups to form Green Fins National Teams
  • Green Fins website showcasing Top 10 dive centers and MFF project (


Enhanced understanding of the diving industry and current relevant environmental policies in MFF countries where the Green Fins approach has not yet been introduced

Phase 2 – Capacity Development


  • National level multi-stakeholder consultations
  • Establish Green Fins National Teams
  • Training activities, including on assessment methods


  • Country-level Action Plans with prioritised activities
  • Network Maps for National Teams, to support implementation and effective communication
  • Documentation of stakeholder meetings and capacity development


National Teams established and trained on the Green Fins approach in each target country

Phase 3 – Implementation


  • Implementation of country-specific activities e.g. training based on green fins toolkits, environmental awareness activities, clean-ups
  • Analysis of lessons learned
  • Investigating and promoting scaling up activities


  • “Road map” for the continued implementation of Green Fins based on lessons learned
  • Recommendations for integrating findings in policy frameworks of participating countries
  • Final report including a sustainability assessment


Specific activities implemented according to the Action Plan in two MFF countries aimed at the protection and wise management of coral reefs through the promotion of the Green Fins approach in countries with relevant partners and stakeholders.

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Featured Film - Green Fins Introduction Video

Green Fins Introduction Video, Asia Region ©, 2012

Introduction Video about Green Fins,



Maldives and Viet Nam



1st Jan 2013 to 31st Dec 2014

MFF Grant Amount

USD 199,994

Implementing Partner

  • UNEP
Jerker Tamelander, Head, UNEP Coral Reef Unit
Reynaldo Molina, COBSEA (Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia) Program Coordinator 
  • The Reef-World Foundation (Regional Executing Agency)
James Harvey, Manager, Reef-World Foundation
  • MFF National Coordinating Bodies in Maldives and Viet Nam
Mr. Ahmed Shan, Surveyor, Environmental Protection Agency, Maldives
Dr. Vo Si Tuan, Vice Director, Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam
  • Scuba diving operators in target countries
  • Relevant government agencies responsible for dive tourism development, regulations and oversight

Related Images

  • Green Fins new website screenshot showing Top 5 dive centres applying Green Fins approach
  • Local tourism dive industry has associated economic activities.
  • Puerto Galera, pioneer site of Green Fins in the Philippines
  • Green Fins inception meeting participants
  • Protecting Coral Reefs by Green Fins approach

Related Publications

Protecting marine ecosystems in MFF countries using the Green Fins approach

Author: UNEP

Publisher: UNEP

Posted on: 14th Nov 2013


Size: 4.1 MB

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