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Diving With… Matt Reed, Evolution Diving Resort, Malapascua Island, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer….

What is your name?

Matt Reed.

Matt Reed by David Mogam

What is the name of your business?

Evolution.

What is your role within the business?

Managing Partner/Instructor Trainer.

How long has the business operated for?

We were due to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in March. Sadly, this was cancelled due to the pandemic.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

My first dive was in 1988, aged 12, I certified as a PADI Instructor in 1998, and immediately began working as a professional instructor. I’ve been an instructor trainer with SDI/TDI since 2003.

What is your favourite type of diving?

My passion is technical diving, deep, wreck and rebreather diving. I enjoy the complexity involved in the equipment and the planning, and being able to access dive sites that others rarely see.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can have an almost guaranteed sighting of a Thresher Shark, plus the island is remote and beautiful with a true “paradise” feeling.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Monad Shoal, where the Thresher Sharks are spotted, is an amazing sea mound, with not just several species of sharks, but also schools of fish, rays, deep walls and just an excellent ecosystem to showcase marine biodiversity.

A pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) circles a cleaning station at Monad Shoal, a popular dive site near Malapascua Island, Philippines. Every morning these sharks gather at this sea mount to get cleaned at the various cleaning stations. This has turned into a mayor tourist attraction and has helped the locals a lot with rebuilding and recovering after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed the island on November 8. 2013.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We have diving available for everyone from kids and total beginners, up to the most complex types of deep and technical dive. Whatever you need we can offer it.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I enjoy very much being part of a team that makes dreams come true. Our team teaches people at all levels and the smiles on faces of new and old divers is so rewarding. It is also brilliant to be able to be part of a small community that benefits so much from tourism and diving, and being able to watch the locals grow and thrive due to the industry here.

Mandarinfish at Evolution, Malapascua

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Cuttlefish – so intelligent and I’m always amazed by the changing shapes and colours that these creatures can produce.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Hopefully we’ll be open again soon!! Currently we are working on a project to install improved mooring buoys at all our dive sites.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

No customers. Other than that, we are always fighting to control illegal fishing in a country which is very poor and where people often use illegal and destructive methods to catch fish as they are trying hard to feed their families.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we have long been a top ten member of Green Fins, and always push for sustainable dive practices, and quality underwater diver control to avoid damaging the environment. We are also leaders in funding, managing and encouraging the local group of ‘anti-fishing’ patrols by the government, to stop illegal fishing. We regularly run underwater cleanups and beach cleanups, and donate towards local community projects.

Nudibranch

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

The industry has great capacity to positively effect remote communities, and bring improved quality of life to poor areas. This needs to be combined with quality diving protocols to avoid damage to the environment and to educate and guide both tourists and locals to ensure the amazing marine life is not negatively impacted.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Malapascua has it all – paradise white beaches, amazing reefs with shallow dives, caves, wrecks and deep diving, as well as sharks and rays – what more could you want?

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Website: www.evolution.com.ph

Email: info@evolution.com.ph

Facebook: @evolutiondivingmalapascua

Instagram: @evolutiondivingresort

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Save on NEW Emperor Harmoni

Asia DTA Team

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The launch of Emperor Harmoni – Emperor Divers’ brand-new liveaboard in Indonesia – is just a few weeks away with the finishing touches currently taking place. And, to welcome her to their fleet, Emperor have put together an offer as magnificent as the boat herself.

Anyone booking a trip on Harmoni for 2022 or 2023 will receive a 25% discount if they book and confirm before October 1st 2022.

That means the first guests on board can not only explore and dive the Indonesian waters in the finest of style but do so at an incredible price. And sailing on Harmoni really is fine.

She is a 24-berth, traditional Indonesian phinisi-style vessel which has been bespoke made using a combination of Emperor’s vast experience of liveaboards and the expertise of legendary Indonesian boat builder Pak Haji.

Constructed almost entirely by hand using Sulawesi ironwood, Harmoni has been designed specifically to offer the finest diving experiences possible in spacious surroundings of the very highest standard.

The beautifully-finished cabins all have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning while the deck areas offer plenty of comfortable places to sit and maybe even enjoy a relaxing massage. The dining area is spacious and serves the high-quality food and drink you would expect from an Emperor Divers holiday.

The first trip leaves on September 16th and will cruise from Bali, taking in the wonderful scenery of Moyo Island, Sumbawa and Sangean Volcano before finally reaching Komodo National Park. 

The offer is valid on new bookings only and discount is not to be combined with group free places or any other discount or promotion.

Email reservations@emperordivers.com to confirm pricing and availability or speak personally to the Emperor Divers’ reservation team to find out more.

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Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!

Asia DTA Team

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The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or  www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at japan@greenfins.net.

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