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Green Fins has evolved with the tourism industry over the years and has been on the frontline when it comes to combating threats from the SCUBA diving and snorkelling industry since 2004. This initiative of the United Nations Environment (UNEP) and was first implemented in Thailand in 2004 alongside The Reef-World Foundation through supporting the development and monitoring aspects of Green Fins. The dynamic approach of Green Fins has developed into the world’s only assessed environmental standards for SCUBA and snorkelling businesses in the world to date. To do this, a holistic approach is needed to tie in the many stakeholders of the project who depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods and food security.
Green Fins was developed as a way to address the gap in knowledge and awareness about the growing threats to the marine environment. Tourism is the world’s fastest growing industry with millions of tourists travelling far and wide often to beautiful locations with areas of high biodiversity. This makes the perfect platform for passing on skills and knowledge about how to protect this fragile and important environment whilst helping ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector.
After Thailand in 2004, Reef-World implemented Green Fins in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2008 through UNEP funding that led to the development of the Road Map that helped pave the way for future countries. At the request of the UNEP, Reef-World then brought the project to the Philippines in 2010 and firmly routed the project at the government level. In 2013 under Mangroves for the Future, an initiative of the IUCN, a Reef-World / UNEP partnership brought the project to the Maldives and Vietnam to work with the governments to help address the threats from the ever growing tourist numbers which if left unchecked can lead to increased stresses on the coral reefs. Once corals become stressed this makes them less resilient to cope with additional pressures such as those from climate change.
Green Fins is now currently looking at spreading its ‘fins’ to other regions of the globe to have more successes and ensure a sustainable tourism industry whilst increasing awareness amongst locals and tourists of the wider threats to our seas and oceans.