About Green Fins
Protecting coral reefs through sustainable marine tourism
Scuba diving, snorkelling and other forms of marine tourism are fantastic activities to introduce people to the marine environment and create new ocean advocates. However, unmanaged, these activities can have acute negative impacts for fragile ecosystems like coral reefs.
Green Fins is a proven conservation management approach – implemented internationally by The Reef-World Foundation and the UN Environment Programme – which leads to a measurable reduction in the negative environmental impacts associated with marine tourism. It aims to protect coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines promoting sustainable diving and snorkelling. It provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for marine tourism and its robust assessment system measures compliance.
Green Fins encourages and empowers divers, snorkellers, the diving industry and coastal communities to reduce the pressures on coral reefs by offering marine tourism companies practical, low-cost alternatives to harmful practices – such as anchoring, fish feeding and chemical pollution – as well as providing strategic training, support and resources.
It’s proven that by reducing the local pressures tourism puts on coral reefs, we can help make corals healthier and more resilient to other stresses such as the effects of climate change.
We are working towards a future where environmentally friendly practices are standard across the marine tourism industry.
“To protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry.”
Sustainable diving and snorkelling is the norm
Who Is Part Of The Green Fins Network?
Green Fins is the world’s first independent certificate to stop the environmental impact from marine-based tourism, implemented predominantly through its membership available for marine tourism operators everywhere.
Green Fins memberships are managed through a centralised platform – the Green Fins Hub. This allows all operators easy access to a personalised action plan, a library of environmental solutions as well as connection to other operators and conservation experts through the Community Forum.
There are two types of membership – certified and digital.
In ‘active’ countries, Green Fins is implemented by a national team composed of government staff (often in collaboration with NGOs). Certified Members receive in-person assessments and training from assessors annually. They have met a minimum threshold score within their assessment, therefore reaching a global minimal acceptable standard of environmental operations for marine tourism.
Operators that qualify as Certified Members will be ranked according to their performance, as Bronze, Silver or Gold. In order to provide greater transparency for tourists to understand where an operator is on their sustainability journey, Certified Members will advertise their membership with either a bronze, silver, or gold logo.
Since 2004, over 700 marine tourism operators have joined as Green Fins Certified Members, adopting the code of conduct and improving their compliance over time. You can find each country’s team profile on the Find a Member page.
Increased demand for Green Fins implementation lead Reef-World to launch Digital membership in 2022 to make Green Fins membership available to operators everywhere. This provides all dive, snorkel and liveaboard operators an opportunity to join the Green Fins network and start implementing positive change before their country becomes an active Green Fins country.
Digital Members make the same commitment to implement the Green Fins code of conduct, however each Digital Member’s sustainability journey is self-managed online. This includes a thorough self-evaluation of the operation’s environmental practices which generates a personalised score and annual action plan. Membership costs $140 to sign up and $60 renewal for each year after.
Digital membership is self-evaluated, expansive and inclusive, and due to this, there is no minimum score requirement. To highlight this difference with certified membership for tourists, there is a specific Digital Member logo for these operators.
Search for a sustainable operator on the Digital Members page or find out more about joining the Green Fins network as a Digital Member.
What are the Environmental Standards?
The Green Fins Code of Conduct sets out 15 environmental standards for marine tourism operations to adopt. The Code of Conduct covers best practices for both above and below the water and considers the role of managers, operator staff and tourists. Although designed around protecting coral reefs, these standards can apply to all marine environments (e.g. seagrass meadows, mangroves, kelp forests etc.).
How Can You Use Green Fins?
OPERATOR OWNERS AND MANAGERS
If you would like to find out more about the Green Fins initiative, please contact Reef-World at firstname.lastname@example.org.