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This Organization Wants to Make Diving More Eco-Friendly

Green Fins works to minimize scuba diving’s impact on the environment
By David Shiffman, Ph.D. | Created On March 7, 2024
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This Organization Wants to Make Diving More Eco-Friendly

Dive guide giving briefing using Green Fins material

Teresa Moh / The Reef-World Foundation

Scuba divers love the ocean, and many are deeply concerned about threats to marine life and habitats. That’s why it can be hard to accept that one of the threats to these incredible places comes from us—and I don’t mean humans in general, but scuba divers specifically.

“Irresponsible behavior by divers, such as careless fin kicking and touching corals, can result in direct damage, which, in turn, makes corals more vulnerable to disease. And harassing marine life through touching or chasing causes stress that jeopardizes their survival,” Teresa Moh, the international coordinator of the Green Fins Initiative told me. “The marine tourism industry can further contribute to coral reef degradation through physical damage caused by boat anchors, dumped sewage and marine litter.”

Related Reading: Organizations Divers Should Know: The International Seabed Authority

While careless or irresponsible behavior from divers can be a major threat to the ocean and the amazing creatures that live there, there are ways to minimize the dive tourism industry’s impacts. That’s where Green Fins comes into the picture. They train both individuals and dive operators to minimize the environmental impact of scuba tourism.

Green Fins awareness presentation for Green FinsMembers

Teresa Moh / The Reef-World Foundation

They’ve also created a code of conduct, which includes things like encouraging operators and divers to participate in beach cleanups, promoting proper dive boat trash disposal, informing tourists about local environmental regulations and adopting “look but don’t touch” rules.

Dive and snorkel operators can become certified members of Green Fins if they're in one of the 10 countries where the organization has a local team to assess their conduct. These assessments are conducted annually to ensure continued compliance. If an operator is based in a location where there is no certifier, there is an option to self-evaluate and become a digital member.

Photographer exhibiting neutral buoyancy


As an individual diver, you can take an e-course that teaches best practices. Additionally, divers can search the Green Fins database to support any of the hundreds of certified resorts and liveaboards when booking dive trips.

The Green Fins program is already starting to show signs of an impact—there has been an approximately 20% improvement in adoption of pro-sustainability diving behavior as measured by a pre- and post-training evaluation. And demand is rising: There are Green Fins members in 58 countries, according to Moh.

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Any time we enter nature, there’s going to be some impact, and it can be argued that many scuba divers fall in love with the ocean and seek to do more good than harm. Therefore, Green Fins’ attempts to reduce the impact of diving on the ocean through collating best practices, training divers and certifying responsible operators is an important step in the industry.

You can learn more about the Green Fins Initiative by following them on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |YouTube