Three Malaysia-based dive centers have been awarded this year’s Green Fins Award by the Reef-World Foundation.
The winners are:
· Bubbles Dive Center, Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia,
· Flora Bay Divers, Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia
· Tioman Dive Center, Pulau Tioman, Malaysia
The prestigious annual award recognizes the Green Fins member with the lowest environmental impact. This year, competition was so tight that three winners all tied for first place. What’s more, all three of the winners and seven of the global top 10 centers are based in Malaysia.
The winning dive operators were chosen from the 600-strong network of Green Fins members by a rigorous assessment of business practices. To be eligible for the award, the operator must have had its latest assessment conducted within the last 18 months. In 2019, the winner was Tioman Dive Center — a PADI dive center which has been a Green Fins member since 2009 and had managed to hold onto the title again in 2020.
These three dive centers have taken certain steps to improve sustainability practices, including:
· Switching to eco-friendly products and improving waste management practices: Kelvin Lim, Flora Bay Divers, said: “We switched from normal detergents to eco-friendly detergents, we are encouraging divers to bring their own water bottles to reduce plastic and came up with a general waste bin and a bin for plastic bottles in front of our dive centre. This helps tourists and locals to place thrash that’s been found on the beach easily and conveniently since there are no proper bins along the beach.”
· Training staff in why environmental practices are important: Peisee Hwang, Bubbles Dive Center, said: “Green Fins has helped my crew understand more about the importance of looking after the environment. Less educated members of staff would throw cigarette butts in the sea without thinking but they are now keeping their trash to dispose in the bin when they are back.”
· Upgrading boat engines: Rosie Cotton, Tioman Dive Center, said: “At the beginning of 2020, we upgraded our last remaining boat engine and now we run 100% with 4-stroke models. The benefits are not only to the environment but also a huge reduction in petrol usage. It’s a Win Win situation!”
According to Alvin Chelliah, Green Fins Assessor Trainer from Reef Check Malaysia:
“Most dive center managers and owners that I have come across in Malaysia care and want to do what they can to help protect coral reefs. I think Green Fins has been the right tool to guide them towards practical actions they can take. Over the years, we have seen these dive centers put in a lot of effort and work hard at following the guidelines and they have improved steadily as a result. We hope others will follow their example.”
Chloe Harvey, Director at the Reef-World Foundation, said:
“Competition between the Top 10 is always tight but the fact that there are three winners this year, when usually one center takes the title, shows how much sustainability is being put at the forefront of the agenda across the dive industry. So, we’d like to say a big well done to Bubbles Dive Center, Flora Bay Divers and Tioman Dive Center. This win is testament to their hard work and ongoing sustainability efforts and they should be very proud. It’s an incredibly tight race to be named the best of the best!”
The Green Fins Top 10 list is comprised of the world’s most sustainable dive operators, as determined by the Green Fins assessment process. In 2020 they are:
1. Tioman Dive Center, Flora Bay Divers and Bubbles Dive Center (all in Malaysia)
4. Ceningan Divers (Indonesia)
5. Scuba Junkie Mabul (Malaysia)
6. Sea Voice Divers (Malaysia)
7. Evolution (Philippines)
8. Orca Nation Rawa (Malaysia)
9. Equation (Philippines)
10. Barat Perhentian Beach Resort (Malaysia)
In Malaysia, Green Fins is run by Reef Check Malaysia in partnership with the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia (DMPM) on the Peninsula and Sabah Parks in Sabah. Membership is not yet available in Sarawak.