A New Wave of Ocean Protection

Support Project AWARE®’s next wave of ocean protection with your PADI® Member Renewal

ProjectAWARE_Remember_Renewal

With 25 years of ocean conservation successes fueled by an incredible network of supporters, governments, businesses, NGOs and conservation partners, Project AWARE has much to celebrate with PADI Members.

To highlight this incredible milestone and join in the celebrations, PADI is launching a special limited edition Project AWARE card – The 25 Years of Partnership for Ocean Protection limited edition card is available to PADI Pros from October 2017 and will be available to student divers throughout 2018 when it launches in January.

00606_AWARE_C_CardFINAL-300x188Two Ways to Support Project AWARE’s Next Wave of Ocean Conservation

  • Choose the new 25 Years of Partnership for Ocean Protection limited edition card as your PADI Membership card
  • Donate to Project AWARE with your PADI Member Renewal today!

Go to the PADI Pros’ Site to update your credit or debit card details and add your donation to support Project AWARE’s critical conservation work!

Your support gives the ocean a voice, help secure important policy advancements to keep shark and ray populations healthy and protect marine life from the onslaught of marine debris.

2018-Mask-StrapA

Special Offer: Limited Edition Project AWARE 25th Anniversary Mask Strap

Project AWARE’s special 25th Anniversary limited edition mask strap is now available as a special thank you gift when donating through your PADI member renewal. The gift is available to any PADI member donating $25/€15/£15 or more.

Eco-Friendly Elegance: How to Go Green the Right Way

Written by Tara Bradley
bunaken dive resort

Like many great things in life, the idea behind the Bunakan Oasis Dive Resort began in a bar.

One evening, Elaine and Simon Wallace, divers visiting Wakatobi from England, listened intently as their PADI Divemaster, Maruf Tajudin, known as Acho, told them about his home, on the island of Bunaken, located at the northern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“He talked with great passion about the reefs and the diving and the fact that he would like to get involved with the education of the next generation, reef conservation and preservation, teaching kids to dive safely and properly and really to make a difference to the area,” Elaine says. “The discussion ‘got’ us.”

With that, the Wallaces visited Bunaken, fell in love with it, and waited until land became available. Five years later, it did, and Tajudin and the Wallaces finally had the chance to open up the resort they’d be dreaming up for so long. All of that planning came into fruition when Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort opened its doors in 2016 and became the first conservation-minded resort on the island.

Finding the Water Source

With a shortage of freshwater on the island, but plenty of well water, the group used Tajudin’s experience working on liveaboards to de-salinate the water. Then they took it to the next level. All of the pipework is now classed for potable water, well water is processed through two freshwater makers and stored in a large 150 cubic meter ceramic-lined tank before it is UV treated and distributed. The water is all tested monthly to ensure it is fully potable. Through this process, the showers, sinks and swimming pool are fresh water.

“All cottages have water dispensers, as do all public areas and the staff village, and all guests are given re-usable drinking thermos flasks,” Elaine says. “It is our aim to negate any need for single use plastics in the resort.”

When it came to the black water treatment system, the Wallaces turned to the French fosse system, the same method used in rural France. The totally self-contained system never needs emptying and exists as its own biosystem, producing just groundwater. Similarly, Oasis’s system is based on several underground BioFil 7 tanks with additional skimming traps, grease traps for the kitchens, neutralizers for the laundry, and a carbon filtration bed.

“The whole system produces nothing but ground water, again we have this regularly tested at the laboratory to make sure no contaminants are introduced into our environment,” Elaine says.

The process is so impressive that guests are granted access to all areas of the property with tours offered to give a look behind the scenes.

“It is important to us that guests can see that their holiday to this incredible diving destination is positive for the island, and that behind the curtain is as good as the guest areas,” Elaine says.

To further their efforts, the property purchased more land. Totaling 5 hectares, they’ve incorporated an organic garden with the goal of growing as many varieties of fruits and vegetables for the restaurant as possible.

The local village wasn’t left out either. With the hopes of granting access to more water and to reduce the need for plastic bottles, a 5,000-litre fresh water tank provides fresh water to everyone for drinking and cooking.

bunaken dive resort

Strong Local Causes

An emphasis on the local environment and people is also evident in the furniture found in all of the cottages, each piece has been built by Bunaken carpenters on the island from wood purchased under permit from the government managed forests.

One of Oasis’s most recent projects involves a mangrove planting program, located in front of the resort, where guests can plant their own mangrove to help provide a nursery for young marine life.

“Prior to the mangrove/jetty, there was nowhere for the marine life that would naturally seek refuge in the mangroves to hide when the tide was low,” Elaine says. “Now we are seeing more and more species colonizing there.”

With the turtle population thriving in Bunaken, a turtle hatchery is also under discussion.

“Thanks to the National Marine Park management, we have been allowed to release several baby turtles as well as a young hawksbill turtle that had been rescued,” Elaine says.

The island itself faces many of the same problems, like floating plastics, found in other marine areas. While a solution for managing the source of the problem is still under discussion, the Oasis team participates in daily beach cleanups, and, with the help of a local NGO, BunakenCare, returns any recyclable material back to Manado in North Sulawesi. And while removing plastics altogether would be ideal, until then, the Oasis and BunkenCare team are doing their part to clean up as best they can.

“When necessary, we use our taxi boat to skim for surface plastic in the area of Liang beach, but one of our next projects is to build a small catamaran, solely for this purpose,” Elaine says. “We are extremely fortunate that the reefs remain almost entirely unaffected by any incoming floating plastic, but if we can stop anything from reaching the beach, it can only improve the ambience of Bunaken.”

bunaken dive resort

Going Solar

Despite detailed investigations, the Oasis team hasn’t been able to implement solar panels for the resort. But they do have them on the boats for lighting.

“Solar is making inroads in some of the larger Indonesian cities, but at the moment we would not be able to get the support needed to rely on a solar solution,” Elaine says. “We hope to be able to progressively implement solar power in the future when the technology is more supported within the region.”

Oasis’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. The resort is the first recipient in North Sulawesi to receive and operate under the Central Government Facilitator for Nature Tourism permit. In honor of being the first property to receive this permit, the property was also gifted with a visit from the Minister of the Environment, Dr. Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

bunaken dive resort

For more on Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort & Spa, or tips on how to make your property eco-friendly, visit bunakenoasis.com.

PADI and Project AWARE Celebrate 25 Years of Ocean Action

Project AWARE® turns 25 this year. It’s an incredible milestone made possible by the global dive community’s continued support for ocean protection and a partnership powered by a shared vision for a healthy ocean. As PADI® deepens its commitment to ocean health and marine animal protection through the Four Pillars of Change, Project AWARE’s 25th Anniversary is testament to what can be accomplished when people join forces and engage in meaningful conservation action.

28Jun17_AWARE2

It was in the late 1980s when Project A.W.A.R.E. (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education) was born to harness each diver’s potential to advocate for and protect underwater environments. What began as a “project” transformed rapidly into a separate nonprofit organization – the Project AWARE Foundation, which has grown into a full-fledged movement of divers, marine activists and aquatic enthusiasts uniting to take action for ocean protection. In the early days, Project AWARE focused on working to advance environmental awareness through diver education. As the movement grew, Project AWARE shifted its focus to empowering direct community action and campaigning for ocean issues divers care about most.

“Over the past quarter of a century, Project AWARE has stayed at the forefront of emerging ocean issues, amplified divers’ voices on the international stage and brought together a worldwide community tackling some of the most pressing ocean challenges,” says Dr. Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO and Chairman of the Project AWARE Foundation Board. “From its grassroots inception, Project AWARE has grown into a movement with strong initiatives that have a positive impact on the future of our ocean planet.”

With 25 years of ocean conservation successes fueled by an incredible network of supporters, governments, businesses, NGOs and conservation partners, Project AWARE has much to celebrate with PADI Members. You’ve helped secure historic protections for vulnerable shark and ray species. You’ve contributed to developing the world’s first and only marine debris database with more than 800,000 pieces of debris removed and reported from underwater environments. Using Project AWARE’s unique tools and resources, you’ve taught and continue to teach ocean protection to scuba divers, children, families and friends in local communities around the world, inspiring stewards for the ocean.

The past 25 years have created a strong foundation for Project AWARE to build its next wave of ocean protection. Now more than ever, Project AWARE is positioned to lead the charge by empowering the global dive community to be agents of positive change for the ocean, and engage ocean enthusiasts in meaningful conservation actions that the ocean desperately needs. Join the movement and protect our ocean planet – one dive at a timeSM.

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

 

PADI Joins Forces with Mission Blue to Help Protect the World’s Ocean

AG4V0182Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue

PADI® and Mission Blue™ have forged a formal partnership to help increase the level of protection of our world’s ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. At the heart of this effort is a global campaign to build public support for the protection of Hope Spots — special places that are vital to the health of the ocean.

Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. By activating its global network of divers and dive professionals, the PADI family will further bring attention to marine areas in a worldwide network targeted for enhanced protection.

Sylvia and Kids(c)KipEvans_MG_0090 copyPhoto: Kip Evans | Mission Blue

“Mission Blue is thrilled to partner with PADI to bring awareness to divers around the world about the value of Hope Spots,” says Laura Cassiani, Executive Director of Mission Blue. “Divers are an important voice in the global coalition for greater marine conservation because they know first-hand the beauty and fragility of marine ecosystems. We believe deeply that this exciting new collaboration between PADI and Mission Blue will ignite broad support for further ocean conservation around the world. Onward and downward!”

In November 2016, PADI announced our Four Pillars of Change social and environmental responsibility program. Devised to elevate the PADI mission to be best in and for the world, the Four Pillars will help connect the PADI community to the ocean causes they care about. Program efforts will be focused on building awareness of important issues affecting ocean health, strengthening dive communities and dive infrastructure, and forming global alliances that will engage and mobilize PADI Dive Centers, Resorts, dive professionals, and divers to be a global force for good.

“Connecting PADI Divers and Members with the Hope Spots program provides them with actionable opportunities to have a lasting impact on the future of our blue planet,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Through our partnership, PADI and Mission Blue hope to educate divers and ignite support for Hope Spots with the long-term goal of formally protecting more areas of our world’s ocean.”

Sylvia with School of fish(c)KipEvansMissionBlueAG4V0208Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue

PADI will showcase a different Hope Spot each month, such as the Coral Triangle and the Saanich Inlet, to give divers a deeper insight into these vital ecosystems and the need to safeguard them as protected areas. In the coming months, PADI Divers will learn more about some of the best Hope Spots for diving and have an opportunity to nominate new Hope Spots.

Scuba Pro Donated Gear(c)KipEvansMB_MG_9850Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue

If governments, civilian organizations and communities work together to formally protect Hope Spots, these special marine environments can form the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean. Currently, only 5% of the world’s oceans are protected. By joining forces, the goal set forth by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress to protect 30 percent of our world’s oceans by 2030 is reachable.

#padi4change

Mobula Rays Jumping at Sunset(c)KipEvansMBAG4V9467Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue

Embracing Initiatives to Support Our Oceans 

19Apr17_Andre_cleanup

PADI® has a longstanding history of conservation and is building on that by joining forces to further support two of our Four Pillars of Change: Ocean Health and Marine Animal Protection. While continuing to support Project AWARE® in its efforts to reduce marine debris and protect endangered sharks and rays, there are new initiatives with the United Nations (UN) Development Programme and Mission Blue™.

Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet

Alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, allows the PADI family to increase efforts to conserve and sustainably use marine resources. By joining the #SaveOurOcean dialog initiated by the UN Development Programme, you and your divers can engage in conversations to increase awareness about the importance of ocean health and its effect on the bigger sustainability agenda to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Mission Blue™. – a Dr. Sylvia Earle alliance – focuses on growing the number of protected marine areas. Sharing stories of Hope Spots – a term for special places critical to ocean health, dubbed by Dr. Earle and Mission Blue – help identify areas that are precursors for marine protected areas. Nominating Hope Spots provides an opportunity for the PADI family and the dive industry to help reach the goal set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress to protect 30 percent of our world’s oceans by 2030.

One Dive at a Time

Project AWARE continues its vital work to protect our ocean planet. From collective action in local communities to large-scale change at the policy level, Project AWARE partners with you and your divers to reduce the amount of marine debris entering our ocean and protecting the world’s most threatened species of sharks and rays. Diver support is imperative for the oceans’ future and you can encourage everyone to dive into action and show their support through direct donations to Project AWARE, as well as in grassroots efforts including Dive Against Debris® and Adopt a Dive Site. Check out Project AWARE’s 10 Tips for Divers Action Kit for tools you can use to inspire action.

Lend your support for global efforts to improve the future of the oceans under the structure of our Four Pillars of Change. By taking action to reduce marine debris, establish more marine protected areas and protect marine animals, together we can increase biodiversity and work toward sustainable management of the oceans and their resources. PADI Pros and divers drive change every day and have stories to share to inspire others to do the same. If you have a story you want to share, email fourpillarsofchange@padi.com.

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

 

Elevating Purpose: PADI’s Four Pillars of Change

Over the past 50 years, PADI® has become a global network of dive centers, resorts and professional members who do a lot more than teach diving, sell dive equipment and run dive trips. PADI Members transform lives every day. Together, we have certified millions of divers, ambassadors and protectors of our water planet.

And our water planet needs every diver, ambassador and protector it can get. Eight million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year. There’s so much plastic that we use terms such as “plastic soup” to describe the vast accumulations. Elevated temperatures and ocean acidification have effectively destroyed 20 percent of the world’s coral reefs. Overfishing is rampant. Some shark species are on the brink of extinction, their numbers reduced by as much as 80 percent – the loss of these apex predators would throw entire ecosystems out of balance.

Collectively, PADI must commit to acting as a force for good in the world. By connecting divers with the PADI family and empowering them to take action on issues relevant to our industry, we can become an even more powerful catalyst for change. If we can engage divers around the world more effectively locally, global change is inevitable.

14_HopeCards_revised-1024x576

This is why PADI’s Four Pillars of Change launched in 2016. These four initiatives accentuate our deeper purpose:

9_OceanHealth-768x432

OCEAN HEALTH: Support global efforts for a healthy ocean. Partner with Project AWARE to remove marine debris and forge partnerships to establish Marine Protected Areas around the world.

10_MarineAnimals-768x432

MARINE ANIMAL PROTECTION: Protect marine life biodiversity. Support Project AWARE® and other organizations that work to enact legislation, educate the public and fight shark finning and overfishing.

11_PeopleCommunity-768x432

PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY: Do more to help build dive infrastructure and support training local people to foster sustainability. Educate and support local communities to cultivate the protection mindset necessary for ocean health and marine animal protection.

12_HealingWellness-768x432

HEALTH AND WELLNESS: As we help heal the world externally, we heal internally as well. In diving, many people have found hope for their futures. Stories of triumph over adversity, illness and hardships testify to diving’s healing power. Share the incredible stories about personal transformation so others may benefit.

These powerful messages resonate with people all over the world. People want to be involved with entities that make a tangible difference, but they have to know about them first, so it’s vital to get the message out. Take a look at your current communication plan and incorporate these initiatives in ways that fit with your particular local needs and opportunities. You’re likely already doing this, but making it a priority to let people know about this shared commitment is a powerful way to grow the base of divers, ambassadors and protectors our water plant depends on.

There’s no better day to highlight your commitment to the Four Pillars of Change than 22 April 2017, Earth Day. Since 1970, Earth Day has focused on environmental issues and given voice to an emerging global consciousness. Now, 47 years later, Earth Day continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion and motivate people to action. It’s a perfect opportunity to let your local community know about your efforts on behalf of the environment, and it’s just the type of news that’s likely to get picked up by local media.

The Case of the Goliath Grouper

goliathgrouper

The fishing of goliath groupers is a really big issue. Because goliath groupers are really big.

In fact, as fishes go, Atlantic goliath groupers (Epinephelus itajara) are whoppers: They grow to massive proportions and can weigh up to 455 kilograms/800 pounds. Because of this, they have unquestionably become one of the most desirable “trophy” fish on the planet.

They are also delicious. And vulnerable, for two main reasons: First, goliaths live in shallow tropical waters, at depths from 5-50 metres/16-165 feet, from the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, throughout the Caribbean and along much of the South American coast, sometimes venturing as far north as Maine and across the Atlantic to Africa. Second, they spawn in large aggregations – large numbers of groupers turn up in the same location at the same time to get on with the business of creating the next generation.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the goliath grouper population (along with many fish populations) plummeted due to pressure from commercial and recreational fishermen, including divers and spearfishermen. As a result, taking – harvesting or killing – goliath groupers was prohibited throughout the United States in 1990; their population is recovering in certain areas, and now the pressure from some corners is on to reopen the fishery. Many others oppose this.

Photo by Bill Goodwin, Florida Keys National Marine SanctuaryPADI submitted an official position statement opposing proposals to reopen the goliath grouper fishery in Florida, USA, and backed this up by supporting research on the financial impact of goliath grouper dive tourism. As you can imagine, spawning aggregations are a big draw for divers from not only the immediate locale but from around the world, and they are worth protecting. The real issue is how to achieve this. The answer may well lie in divers’ relatively deep pockets. Money talks (and helps sway decision makers) and the research findings are clear: While recreational fisherman are willing to spend $34-$79 US to harvest a goliath grouper, in-state divers are willing to spend $103-$202 US for goliath grouper encounters; out-of-state divers are willing to pay around $336 US.

That’s pretty significant. It’s great for Florida, which benefits economically. It’s great for divers, who get to dive with dozens of goliath grouper. It’s great for most fishermen, who just have to carefully release any goliath grouper caught (they just can’t “harvest or possess” them). And it’s really good for goliath groupers.