Egypt Adopts Green Fins Standards for Diving and Snorkelling
The Reef-World Foundation and Chamber of Diving & Watersports (CDWS) have announced that Egypt is adopting the Green Fins environmental standards to help protect its coral reefs from the negative impacts associated with snorkelling and scuba diving. Egypt will become the first Middle Eastern country and eleventh nation worldwide to adopt the Green Fins standards.
A pilot initiative has begun in the South Sinai Governorate (which covers Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab), with four CDWS representatives trained as Green Fins Assessors who are now certified to recruit, train and conduct assessments of new Green Fins members in Egypt. A similarly sized team will be trained in Red Sea Governorate (covering the resorts of mainland Egypt including Hurghada and Marsa Alam) in March 2020.
Out of 11.3 million tourists that visited Egypt in 2018, it is estimated that three million participated in diving and snorkelling experiences conducted by approximately 500 operators. Green Fins is hoping to reach 30 dive centres and train 150 guides within its first year of operation, and the CDWS is calling for dive and snorkel centres to sign up. Reducing diving and snorkelling-related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, helps to make them more resilient to other stressors such as those associated with climate change.
To date, four dive centres have signed up to the Green Fins initiative - Reef Oasis Dive Club, Water Land 3 Diving Centre, Diving and Discovery and Camel Dive Club and Resort. It is hoped that more will follow. Each will be assessed on its environmental impact and the feedback generated will include practical, low-cost alternatives to the threats posed by the likes of single-use plastic, inappropriate in-water conduct or a general lack of awareness of existing rules and regulations.
Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: 'We’re proud to be helping protect Red Sea coral reefs by bringing Green Fins to Egypt. As one of the original global diving destinations, the diving community in Egypt has shaped the way we dive and travel today, so I’m really pleased to be working with them to lead the way in sustainability within our industry.'
Hesham Gabr, Chair of the Chamber of Diving & Watersports, said: 'Since the start of the 2019 summer alone, we have already had multiple sightings of whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, hammerheads, oceanic reef sharks and much, much more. It is so important that we protect and preserve the Red Sea’s exquisite marine life for future generations. As such, we are excited to promote environmental best practice to our members and help them reduce negative impacts on life under the sea, through the implementation of the Green Fins initiative.'
Ahmed el Wassief, Chair of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, said: 'Sustainability is a crucial element of the Egypt Tourism Reform Program that Egypt is undertaking to improve the standards and the quality of both the touristic infrastructure and its human element. The effort will surely put Egyptian tourism at the forefront of Eastern Mediterranean destinations.'
For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org, www.greenfins.net or www.cdws.travel. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up to Green Fins can find the membership application form at www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.