26th July 2016
Kuala Lumpur: The Green Fins Malaysia team is continually striving to grow and expand its network in Malaysia. This is in line with efforts underway to achieve Target 10 of the Aichi Biodiversity Target. The team is currently re-assessing existing members and recruiting new members in Tioman Island and will be organising an assessor training in September. In Kota Kinabalu, a new member has successfully completed their assessment and is now a certified Green Fins member.
Green Fins is a comprehensive approach that encourages dive centres, snorkel operators, local communities and governments to work together to reduce their environmental impacts. This is primarily done through the adoption of a 15-point Code of Conduct that will help operators to mitigate their impacts when carrying out marine tourism activities. Green Fins was originally initiated by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) under the Regional Seas programme. The Coral Reef Unit of UNEP now oversees the programme, in collaboration with UK charity The Reef-World Foundation.
Green Fins was first introduced in Malaysia in 2009 under the management of the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia (DMPM). It was expanded in 2014 in Tioman Island with Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) joining the management structure. To date, there are nine certified Green Fins assessors in Malaysia (including DMPM, RCM, and Sabah Parks). 33 dive centres around Malaysia are Green Fins members, covering Tioman, Redang, Perhentian, Mabul and Mataking, as well as Kota Kinabalu. The National Management Team is now successfully being run as a partnership between DMPM and RCM
The team on Tioman have been on their feet for the past week. They have been visiting Green Fins dive centre members in Tioman for the annual reassessment. They have also been going door-to-door to many other dive centres to introduce Green Fins to them, in hopes of recruiting them as new members. Dive centres that come aboard as Green Fins members will have to adopt the Code of Conduct to ensure that their operation is green and responsible.
Meanwhile in Kota Kinabalu, Green Fins welcomed another new member. Sea Tango Dive Centre, who started operating less than a year ago has just officially became a member of the Green Fins network and is the 9th dive operator to be certified in Sabah. Sea Tango Dive Centre is a dive department under Amazing Borneo Tour's & Events, who has also been supporting Reef Check Malaysia's school programmes in Kota Kinabalu.
In September this year, RCM in collaboration with DMPM and Reef World will be organising another assessor training, following earlier training in Tioman and Kota Kinabalu. Two trainers from Reef World will be training 6 DMPM officers on Perhentian Island. The seven-day training includes the introduction to Green Fins, the Code of Conduct, diving skills training and assessment methods. Participants will have to pass an exam and undergo a practical training session with dive operators. Green Fins maintains a strict standard so that responsible behaviour is not compromised.
These trainings by the Malaysian team are in line with our efforts to promote green diving practices in Malaysia with the hopes of reducing diver and snorkeler impacts to coral reefs. This is also part of RCM’s bigger picture of improving the management of Marine Parks in Malaysia. The issue of managing marine protected areas is gaining much recognition around the world as communities are striving to find better ways to manage the resources within a marine park.
RCM has been working with the local community on Tioman Island to get them more involved in the day-to-day management of the Marine Park. Our team on Tioman, known as ‘Cintai Tioman’ has been on Tioman for two and a half years, working among the local communities to equip and prepare them to be involved with the management of the Marine Park. They now have a Tioman Marine Conservation Group (TMCG) comprising local villagers who have been working actively with Marine Park officers and dive centres on several day-to-day tasks within the park.
Green Fins Malaysia will be represented at the Reef Check Malaysia booth during the Malaysian International Dive Expo (MIDE) 2016. We will be at booth B07 on the 29-31 July 2016 in Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). For those who would like more information on Green Fins and certified members, do drop by our booth or visit www.greenfins.net .
|The SeaTango dive centre team in Sabah after their successful assessment|