Three Malaysian dive-centres have shared the honours in the 2020 Green Fins Award for operations with the lowest environmental impact, given by UK marine-conservation charity the Reef-World Foundation.
The award usually goes to a single centre to highlight its environmentally friendly credentials for the guidance of eco-conscious travelling divers, but the organisation said that this year the competition was tighter than usual.
Not only were the top-scorers all in Malaysia but so were four other centres in the top 10. Two of the winners were on Pulau Perhentian – Bubbles Dive Centre and Flora Bay Divers – and the other was last year’s outright winner, Tioman Dive Centre on Pulau Tioman.
They were chosen from among the 600 Green Fins members, most of which are located in South-east Asia, though there are also small numbers in the Maldives, Caribbean and Egypt. Many centres are currently inactive because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Steps taken to improve sustainability practices by the most highly rated operations included switching to eco-friendly products, improving waste-management practices, extended staff training and upgrading boat engines.
“’Most dive-centre managers and owners that I have come across in Malaysia care and want to do what they can to help protect coral reefs,” commented Alvin Chelliah, the Green Fins Assessor Trainer from Reef Check Malaysia. “I think Green Fins has been the right tool to guide them towards practical actions they can take.
26 October 2020
“Over the years, we have seen these dive-centres put in a lot of effort and work hard at following the guidelines and they have improved steadily as a result. We hope others will follow their example.”
“This year has obviously been slightly different to previous years,” said Rosie Cotton of Tioman Dive Centre. “I hope that something we can all take away from this year is that changes in our daily habits can create shockwaves of positive change around the world in a relatively short period of time.”
The other top ten centres, in order of precedence, were Ceningan Divers (Indonesia); Scuba Junkie Mabul and Sea Voice Divers (both Malaysia); Evolution (Philippines); Orca Nation Rawa (Malaysia); Equation (Philippines) and Barat Perhentian Beach Resort (Malaysia).