Malapascua is a tiny Philippine island situated north of Cebu in the Visayan Sea. Over the years it has achieved worldwide fame for its daily thresher shark sightings. Malapascua is the only place in the world they can be seen (almost) every day at their cleaning stations. Whilst it has long being a hub for diving, the island’s tourism is growing rapidly with more snorkelers and non-diving based tourism. It’s more important than ever to maintain high environmental standards throughout all tourism sectors and the diving industry can lead the way to sustainability.
In November 2017, a team of Green Fins assessors were back in Malapascua for the fifth consecutive year. Since Green Fins launched in 2012, the island’s dive centers have shown tremendous commitment to protect the marine environment with almost 100% membership. In 2017, 18 dive centres renewed their membership; undergoing assessments, receiving staff training and working with assessors to create their own action plans to reduce their environmental impact.
This year, the training included marine biology and identification of indicator species on a healthy coral reef. The most prevalent risks from the industry, identified through previous assessments discussed and low cost, easy to implement solutions were presented. These ranged from irresponsible disposal of used engine oil, to the use of chemical cleaning products and no control of the marine toilet. Assessors also discussed tips and tricks for dive guides to enforce a strict no touch policy underwater by implementing under water corrections to reduce the risk of direct damage caused by divers.
Since 2012, the average environmental impact of the diving industry has reduced by 23%. Members that have undergone five consecutive assessments improved by a remarkable 45% Assessors noted that the members remain committed to finding and implementing solutions for positive change, like responsible disposal of used engine oil, managing waste on board the dive boats and finding alternatives to toxic cleaning products.
Reef-World would like to congratulate Top 10 Member Evolution Diving Resort for the sustained commitment to sustainable tourism, and their new position at #2 in the Top 10 Members!
Big congratulations to all the members on Malapascua who are collaborating to implement best practices on a daily basis!