Diver training agency PADI has launched “Adopt The Blue”, a campaign to form what it hopes will be the world’s biggest network of protected dive-sites. The initiative is an expansion of a previous scheme called Adopt A Dive-Site.
“Our goal is to create 10,000 Adopt The Blue sites by 2025, working with local communities and PADI operators to accelerate local conservation efforts where they are most needed, and to actively contribute towards protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030,” says Danna Moore, director of the PADI AWARE Foundation, which will manage the programme.
Potential sites could contain an iconic habitat or species, such as mangroves, shallow-water seagrass beds, nursery sites or breeding grounds, or be of particular economic benefit to local communities, though they don’t necessarily have to be diveable, says PAD AWARE.
Once the suggested sites are listed on the Adopt The Blue platform, the foundation will co-ordinate the appropriate local, regional and national conservation efforts.
Over the next decade, this programme to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) is intended to drive forward PADI’s existing “Blueprint For Ocean Action”, which it says underpins all its local conservation efforts on marine debris, protection of vulnerable species, restoration of coral-reef systems and tackling climate change.
“With the scale and support of our Mission Hubs [PADI’s 6,600 dive centres and resorts and 128,000-plus professional members], divers and Ocean Torchbearers will be able to help countries meet their ocean-conservation commitments as well as driving forward the creation of coastal MPAs,” says Moore.
“This global collective effort of meaningful action at local levels will help us move the needle on the most urgent conservation issues facing our blue planet.”
Nominations are not currently open to recreational divers, but PADI AWARE says that public donations to Adopt the Blue from 6-11 June will be matched up to a total of US $100,000 by its MPA programme founding partner, the watchmaker Blancpain, in celebration of the day.