Scuola D’Amare initiative at Messina and “All Together” project.

Messina September 10th 2017– The Dive Village event, organized by the PADI Aqua Element Center of Gioiosa Marea and the MessinAmare Association, was successfully completed within the framework of the Scuola D’Amare project in collaboration with the “Caio Duilio” Nautical Institute of Messina, PADI, Project Aware, DAN Europe and MARES.

The event began on Friday September 8th in the prestigious Forte San Salvatore location granted by the Italian Navy, with the award of the diving certificates to the boys and girls of the Scuola D’Amare project and the migrants of the project “All Together”.

The Headmaster of the Nautical Institute, Prof. Maria Schirò, the military authorities, the Vice-President of DAN Europe Guy Thomas, the Regional Manager of PADI EMEA Fabio Figurella, the regional representative of MARES Nino Alessi and the diving instructors of the Aqua Element diving center all attended the awarding ceremony.

The Headmaster Schirò gave special emphasis to the project “All Together”, a project created from the Nautical Institute’s will to open to unaccompanied migrants a series of activities in the nautical sector that one day could give these children the chance to find a job and a place in society. “All Together” is a project connected to the sea, that for these children is synonymous with “Death”, whose is to organize a series of activities like scuba diving and first aid courses that can bring the children closer to the sea, as a friend and resource for their professional future.

To get excited each time and get new proactive energy by watching the spark in the eye of those who come into contact with the wonders of the underwater world. A World that has no: borders, masters, diversity” are the words of Giuseppe Pinci, great organizer of the event.

These boys and girls have been introduced to the scuba diving world thanks to the collaboration with Aqua Element diving center through PADI courses and first aid EFR courses.

 

If all the Headmasters in Italy were like Professor Schirò, Italy would be a much more open country to students, and there would be important synergies enabling social growth for our country and for the future of young generations,” commented Fabio, Regional Manager of PADI EMEA.

The event continued on September 9th and 10th at the Gioiosa Marea diving center, with dives, MARES equipment testing, and lots of fun, with barbeques and a final evening at the disco.

Thanks to the valuable collaboration with DAN Europe, all dives were monitored by the DAN research team that included the dive profiles of the participants in their database for medical-scientific research.

Through the collaboration with Dr. Cosimo Muscianisi of DAN Europe free ORL visits were performed during the event.

Guy Thomas, the Vice President of DAN Europe, was enthusiastic: “It was great to see that thanks to the collaboration between the Aqua Element diving center and the Caio Duilio Nautical Institute there are projects that bring young boys and girls underwater. Also noteworthy is the project “All Together” that reveals to young migrants the wonders of the sea, the sea that they always feared”. Congratulations to all the people involved, especially Mario Aiello and Giuseppe Pinci who carry out important projects such as these with devotion and passion. The enthusiasm was certainly not missing during the event: “Dive Village 2017, an event which allowed us to collect useful data for DAN’s research on diving safety”.

The event has ended, but the activities of Aqua Element and MessinAmare within the Caio Duilio Institute at Messina with the activities of Scuola D’Amare and a project that will bring students to Malta to integrate scuba diving and English learning have already begun with the new school year.

Mario Aiello, owner of the Aqua Element diving center, commented: “The (DIVE VILLAGE) comes to an end, an event where we delivered certificates, we dived, tested Mares  equipment, analyzed our profiles and made OTO visits thanks to DAN, and why not “we had fun like crazy at the disco, all of which brings us together in this huge passion “the sea“.

 

Support Sea grass

We all could do with reducing our carbon footprint and one easy way is to support local and global sea grass conservation initiatives.

Known as the lungs of the ocean, sea grass can produce 10 litres of oxygen per 1m2 everyday! Sea grass meadows are also a fantastic carbon sink as they sequester carbon dioxide from the water and this can slow the effects of ocean acidification created by global warming. This beautiful plant could be the key to stabilising the negative effects of climate change.

Yet despite this, 29% of global sea grass beds have already disappeared with 7% more being lost per year. In an attempt to address this issue, the Marine Biology team at Gili Lankanfushi is conducting a sea grass regrowth experiment. At the resort we have sea grass growing in shallow lagoons around the island and in a 10m2 area on the south east side of the island, we have been collecting data on how fast sea grass regrows after it has been removed.

The experiment has currently been running for six months, so it is too early to be accurate, but results currently show that 10% of the area has signs of regrowth. To date, we are only seeing shoots of a robust species of sea grass called E.acoroides. This is a species found in the tropics in water depth of one to three metres with light wave action.

Aerial view of Lankanfushi Island and sea grass beds

In the beds we find nursery fish, crustaceans, worms and sea cucumbers using the leaves as a nursery and haven against the current. We also often see resident green sea turtles feeding on sea grass as it is their primary diet and they consume 2kg per day!

Marine Biologists are very pro sea grass because sea grass beds stabilise sediment and reduce erosion by creating a network of roots. They also increase the water clarity and quality by soaking up nutrients or chemicals that run into the water. If given the choice, we would regenerate the meadows surrounding the island as with an increased meadow size, the resort would benefit from cleaner and clearer water and an increased population of nursery fish species and green sea turtles. By regenerating the full size of our sea grass meadows we would also offset some of our carbon footprint.

We have been in touch with sea grass specialists from Seagrass Watch and SeagrassSpotter and hope to work with these global conservation projects in the future. We have learnt from their wealth of experience that it takes around 3-4 years to naturally replenish a small sized, single species sea grass meadow and around 10 years to replenish a large sized multi-species meadow. If we helped regrowth by planting sea grass seeds, the areas would be replenished in around 2 years.

This brilliant plant could be the key to stabilising the negative effects of climate change. We hope resorts in the Maldives consider regenerating their sea grass beds to help offset their carbon footprint.

PADI’s guest blogger Clare Baranowski introduces herself:

I am a marine zoologist from the UK who has worked throughout the tropics researching mega fauna and reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. I have experience monitoring and restoring coral and surveying manta, turtle and dolphin populations. I began my career as a science communicator before moving into research and management roles, this is why I incorporate outreach and education into every project I work on and I hope to continue this at Gili Lankanfushi.

Help Improve Our Oceans

Written by Megan Denny

National Geographic estimates 5.25 trillion pieces of trash end up in the ocean every year. That’s about 700 pieces of trash for every man, woman and child on the planet. And, a lot of that rubbish is plastic. The volume and types of trash in the ocean affects all marine creatures, from the smallest zooplankton to the largest whales.

Trash

As a dive professional, you’re uniquely qualified to help turn the tide toward a healthier ocean. There are many ways to make a difference including participating in year-round Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris® surveys or organizing a special event on Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. Here are a few suggestions and examples of what other PADI® Pros are doing for International Coastal Cleanup Day this September.

Saturday, 16 September

International Coastal Cleanup Day is an ideal way to do important work for the local community and raise awareness about your business. Here are some tips for running a successful cleanup event:

  • Get the word out – Send a short press release to local news organizations (templates and tools are available on the PADI Pros’ Site).
  • Stock up – Encourage divers to get equipped with mesh collection bags, knives and gloves. Invite topside participants to bring gardening gloves, but bring extra gloves for those who forget.
  • Buddy up – Invite local environmental organizations to participate and help get the word out.
  • Create incentives – Jack’s Diving Locker in Hawai’i offers a free rental tank and half off rental gear to divers participating in their shoreline and underwater cleanup. Their 2017 event takes place on International Coastal Cleanup Day at the Kailua-Kona Pier from 9am – noon.
  • Document your activities: create a recap video or slideshow to share on social media and with local news outlets. Here’s an example from Eco Dive Center in California.

This year, Eco Dive Center is working together with two fellow clubs from PCH Scubaand In2Deep Scuba for the 13th Annual Underwater Santa Monica Pier Cleanup on International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Take Action Year Round

You don’t need to wait for International Coastal Cleanup Day to take action. Through Dive Against Debris surveys, divers can remove debris throughout the year at any dive location across the globe. If you dive at the same site frequently, why not adopt it? Project AWARE provides a suite of survey tools and a yearly report on the state of your local dive site. Simply conduct Dive Against Debris surveys once a month and report the marine debris you find. Receive special recognition for your efforts in addition to the feel-good benefits of helping the planet and local community. Learn more at: projectaware.org/adoptadivesite.

EcoDiveBeachCleanup

Make Good Choices

While out of the water there are things you can do to support a clean and healthy ocean.

  • Donate to Project AWARE – Challenge friends, family and your student divers to do the same by creating a fundraising campaign. Get started at org/support. You can also peruse fundraising campaigns from fellow ocean-lovers at Finathon.org.

Support Ocean Protection: PADI’s Four Pillars for Change

Project AWARE® turned 25 this year. It’s an incredible milestone made possible by your continued support for ocean protection. As PADI deepens its commitment to ocean health and marine animal protection through the Four Pillars of Change, now more than ever, PADI Pros are positioned to lead the charge by empowering the global dive community to be agents of positive change for the ocean.

And our water planet needs every bit of help it can get. Eight million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year. 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 – this loss would throw entire ecosystems out of balance.

The diving community, especially PADI Pros play a critical role in leading ocean protection. Your commitment to ocean protection with your PADI Member Renewal continues to give the ocean a voice, help and protect marine life from the onslaught of marine debris.

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. Reporting marine debris just got easier with the Dive Against Debris® app.

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.

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.

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.

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 planet depends on. If we can engage divers around the world more effectively locally, global change is inevitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photo: 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.

Photo: 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.”

Photo: 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.

Photo: 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.

Photo: Kip Evans | Mission Blue