Green Fins Capacity Building in Malaysia and Thailand to Further Global Expansion
The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinators of Green Fins – has successfully completed the pilot of its 'Train the Trainer' programme, with three new Green Fins trainers certified in Malaysia and three in Thailand. The new trainers will be able to train new Green Fins assessors in-country, helping to build capacity for the initiative's continued expansion.
Diving-related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue, particularly when coupled with other stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris, as well the effects of climate change. Green Fins is a UN Environment initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally-friendly guidelines that promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. It provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.
JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: 'The proven Green Fins conservation approach offers dive and snorkel companies practical, low-cost alternatives to harmful practices - such as anchoring, fish feeding and chemical pollution from everyday cleaning products, for example. The feedback, training and support provided to dive shops is based on robust onsite assessments which allow for identifying areas of risk to negative impacts to coral reefs and the marine environment,' said Harvey. 'There are currently 44 active (assessed within the last 18 months) Green Fins members in Malaysia and 8 in Thailand, with 198 businesses that have been involved with Green Fins since its inception. So, the increased capacity created by establishing autonomous teams in Thailand and Malaysia will enable the Green Fins initiative to support even more members in reducing their negative environmental impacts on coral reefs.'
One of the newly certified trainers, Alvin Chelliah of Reef Check Malaysia, said: 'The course was very interesting. It really taught us how to share the knowledge we’ve gained over the years with the new and upcoming assessors. I think it is an important part of building the Green Fins network in the country and hopefully now we will be able to spread the programme with more dive locations, get more dive centres involved and take care of our reefs better.'
Petchrung Sukpong, the new Green Fins consultant for Phuket said: 'I think the course was very useful because, on the national level, we have built capacity for people to be trainers; it’s like planting one tree which then grows fruit to spread. We now have three assessor trainers in Thailand who can train more people to be assessors. This will help the government do the assessments in the future and help fill capacity gaps in Thailand.'