MFF, UNEP launch Green Fins approach for Maldives and Viet Nam reefs

Protecting marine ecosystems in MFF Countries using the Green Fins approach

Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines. 12th Mar 2013

MFF and UNEP launch "Green Fins" as an approach to address threats posed by recreational scuba diving-related activities. The Green Fins approach works with dive centres to establish a network of educated dive operators and divers, to promote a set of standards for environmentally sustainable scuba diving tourism activities.The 2-year project will be implemented in MFF countries Maldives and Vietnam, which have extensive and highly diverse coral reefs.

Coral reef and marine ecosystem protection in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean receive a boost with the new 2-year regional project, "Protecting marine ecosystems in MFF countries using the Green Fins Approach". 

The project kickstarted implementation by bringing together representatives from Viet Nam and the Maldives to Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines, dubbed ‘The Centre of the Centre’ of marine biodiversity and birthplace of the Green Fins approach. MFF and UNEP coordinated the inception meeting.

Country representatives discussed with MFF and UNEP the project overview, work plan, and budget. The Green Fins approach to sustainable diving was presented in detail by implementing partner Reef-World. Participants witnessed how the project worked within the private sector and met the people involved, learning first hand the conflicts of interest within the local environment. The local fisheries officer, Ms Grace Pelino, from the Municipality of Puerto Galera also attended the meeting to present her experiences of the Green Fins project and how it has helped the municipal government achieve its goals. There was a chance to meet managers of a dive centre and discuss what impacts the Green Fins project has had in the area. Local dive tour managers shared that the Greens Approach helped reduce trash underwater, a responsible diving behaviour observed from divers. Country representatives had an opportunity to dive and see firsthand the threats posed by the local diving industry (see video). 

The inception meeting also concentrated on learning about the tourism dive industry and the threats it poses. Country representatives presented the status of tourism diving in Maldives and Vietnam, which were considerably different in terms of tourism industry but similar in impacts and threats. Representatives then discussed potential locations for the MFF Green Fins project in Maldives and Vietnam, as well as the formation of new Green Fins national teams.

The meeting concluded by developing a two year work plan and budget outline, which identified monitoring and reporting of project outputs, cross-cutting themes, and risks.

Reef-World Manager and Green Fins Regional Coordinator James Harvey pointed out, "This 3-day meeting proved not only to be very successful in terms of putting together some solid outputs for this project but was also an enjoyable event, building new relationships based on a common ground to protect the environment and livelihoods that depend on coral reefs through the Green Fins approach." Mr Harvey said that this is an excellent foundation upon which to start a 2-year regional initiative.

The inception meeting was attended by Mr Ahmed Shan from the Maldives Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Mr Ngyuyen An Khang and Mr Thai Minh Quang both from the Institute Oceanography, Viet Nam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST); Mr James Harvey, Ms Chloe Hunt, and Ms Samantha Craven represented The Reef-World Foundation. MFF Programme Manager Dr Ranjith Mahindapala and UNEP COBSEA Secretariat Manager Mr Reynaldo F. Molina represented MFF and UNEP.

Follow the Green Fins project page for further developments and updates when Reef-World visit the Maldives and Vietnam in June 2013.


For more information please contact:

James Harvey

Manager and Green Fins Regional Coordinator
The Reef-World Foundation

Protecting Coral Reefs by Green Fins approach

Protecting Coral Reefs by Green Fins approach, Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines © JJHarvey/ReefWorld, 2013

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SCUBA Dive during Green Fins Inception Meeting - Puerto Galera

SCUBA Dive during Green Fins Inception Meeting - Puerto Galera, Puerto Galera, Philippines © JJHarvey/ReefWorld, 2013

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