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Image credit: Reef-World Foundation.

Every diver should be environmentally conscious. After all, divers live to experience the beauty of our oceans – and therefore must respect and protect them. They should not be an alternative group of divers but rather, the norm.

Diving and snorkelling is a huge industry worldwide and the primary reason for travel for many tourists. One of the most famous examples is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, which receives around 2 million visitors each year.

Taking a closer look at the statistics: if on average, a single diver contacts a reef 24 times per hour – and that if just 30 divers are on that site in one hour over 700 contacts could be made, then the potential for damage to reefs over the course of time can be catastrophic. Moreover, with the threat of climate change, our reefs are facing coral bleaching, a phenomenon that occurs when algae – a coral’s primary source of food – leaves a coral, causing it to become stressed and more vulnerable.

It is up to both divers as well as dive operators to take responsibility.

For environmentally conscious divers – happy reefs start with the selection of an environmentally conscious dive operator. This demand will push other operators that are not up to standard out of business or better yet, force them to be more sustainable.

Environmentally conscious dive operators must follow best practices, such as the Green Fins practices, to ensure that their divers are environmentally conscious both in and out of the water through education and awareness of the issues the reefs they are coming to experience face.

A great first step towards ensuring more environmentally conscious divers is to check out the Green Fins website, which contains a wealth of resources to get started.