Phuket Marine Biological Center re-launches Green Fins-Thailand campaign

Posted on June 2, 2014

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‘Green Fins’ is a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), which was launched in Thailand in 2008. Its mission: ‘To protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkeling tourism industry.’ The programme got off to a great start in 2008 with the launch of an innovative and informative English- and Thai-language website followed by outreach programmes to educate reef stakeholders.

The website has a detailed resource section explaining environmental protection laws in Thailand, in addition to providing printable logos and posters for participating members to display in their shops and on their boats. Green Fins recently gained a new coordinator and thus has begun a new round of campaigning. The Green Fins-Thailand project is operated though our own Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC). Several Southeast Asian nations participate in the programme.

Green Fins has emphasised sustainable practices by creating a 16-point “code of conduct” for reef users, identifying the main causes of coral reef ecosystem degradation. The most innovative but sadly under-promoted and underused feature of the website is an online survey section where customers are asked to evaluate companies’ eco-friendliness.

If the PMBC sees a trend of negative reports from any one company, it will elicit a visit from PMBC staff who will help educate the offenders.

With the huge increase in boat traffic, divers and snorkelers, marine conservationists like myself hope that one day participation in Green Fins will be required before any renewal of a Tourism Authority license, with regular visits from PMBC officials to assure reef users are practicing responsible behavior. If there is to be any chance our reef ecosystems will be around for our children, this is a simple imperative.

For more information on Green Fins-Thailand, visit greenfins-thailand.org or contact Petchrung ‘Aey’ Sukpong of the PMBC at aeysea@gmail.com, or call the PMBC directly on 076 391 128.

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