July 2018 – Green Fins Philippines – Welcoming a new coordinator team in Mabini, Batangas

Picture of the Reef-World team with the Green Fins Coordinators in Mabini. They are sitting on a dive boat wearing wetsuits.

Between 16th -20th July 2018, The Reef-World Foundation trained six field staff from the Community Environment and Natural Resource Offices Lipa and Calaca, and the Batangas Community Divers to coordinate the Green Fins approach in Mabini, Philippines.

The municipality of Mabini includes the Barangay of Anilao, for which the area is commonly known. Being one of the oldest diving destinations in the country, Mabini hosts a vast number of dive shops and resorts. It borders the famous Verde Island Passage, which is known to have the highest levels of shore fish biodiversity in the world, and divers from all over the world flock here for reef and muck diving. It’s a choice location for underwater photography, with several international competitions throughout the year. However, it is also infamous for the of manipulating and harassing marine life for the perfect shot, putting additional pressure on local reefs

Despite adverse weather conditions limited diving activities, the newly certified Green Fins coordinators dived into Green Fins implementation including recruitment and awareness raising activities, and established relationships with 18 dive shops during the course of the week, significantly building the capacity of these coordinators to engage private sector stakeholders for environmental action.

Recruitment of Green Fins members has begun, interested dive shops can fill out the membership form and send it to batangas@greenfins.net. Further Green Fins activities, including establishing this coordinator team as fully certified Assessors has been incorporated into 2019 work plans. Reef-World looks forward to continuing to support the DENR to harness the passion of the scuba diving industry to maximise their conservation potential and protect their business asset – the coral reefs.

Green Fins awareness raising activities started in the Philippines in 2004 and the initiative was then officially launched in 2010. Green Fins Philippines is implemented by the Coastal and Marine Division under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) with support from NGOs including Batangas Community Divers, The El Nido Foundation and Marine Conservation Philippines.