April 2016 – Puerto Galera Implementation Activities – Philippines

Puerto Galera is the longest running location of Green Fins members with the programme being introduced to this diving mecca in 2010. Every year, with the exception of last year, all Green Fins members have shown an improvement in their score, with dive centres having less impact on the marine environment. This case study is one of the best case studies of how, year on year, those who participate in Green Fins are able to ensure a sustainable diving industry and helping corals increase their resilience to wider scale threats such as climate change.

After 2015, Puerto Galera members actually saw an increase in the potential threat from their dive centres so recently, international coordinators from Reef-World returned to reinvigorate momentum. Spending just one week in Puerto Galera, the assessors renewed 16 memberships and conducted a training session to enhance their knowledge on marine conservation issues and keep the Green Fins members further reducing their impacts on the very corals their businesses depend on.

Members were consulted on the identification of roadblocks and potential solutions to non-implementation allowing productive discussion about how members would like to be supported with promoting environmental standards.

The results were immediately encouraging. Employing a new strategy of ensuring managers read their emails regarding previous action points and following up on previously unimplemented points the average scores of the oldest members dropped from 157 to 114 (high score means a high negative impact with a maximum score of 330 posing the greatest threat) with the site average dropping from 167 to 133 between 2015 and 2016. Both of these scores for 2016 are the lowest they have ever been which shows that implementing the agreed upon action points can really have an impact.

Picture of the ocean and shoreline in Puerto Galera with a yellow flag in the foreground.

As part of a grant awarded from The UK’s National Marine Aquarium to grow Green Fins, Reef-World was able to design new support materials. Using the Green Fins Ambassadors of Puerto Galera, feedback on new materials being produced to aid their briefings and communication of dive standards was given to the Reef-World team whilst in Puerto Galera helping ensure maximum impact. The new materials were received very positively with much constructive feedback to improve them.

Building on the good news, we are very pleased to announce that Puerto Galera based AB Wonderdive,  are now the least environmentally impacting Green Fins member internationally, claiming the number 1 spot on the Green Fins Top Ten list for the second time running. This list is promoted internationally and will be updated again in June.