“We’re talking about building reef resilience through better MPA (Marine Protected Area) management, better diver management, and addressing all of those local problems that are facing the reefs.” ~ Julian Hyde
A scientist, former dive operator, and now head of Reef Check Malaysia, Julian Hyde knows the dive industry and has seen its impacts on coral reefs. He also knows sustainable diving can be part of the solution to today’s ocean issues. Reef Check Malaysia partners with trained and certified Eco-diver volunteers to conduct annual surveys to assess the health of Malaysia’s reefs. Reef Check Malaysia also conducts local education and marine conservation programs. In his Blue Ocean Summit talk, Julian takes us inside some of the conflicts the diving industry faces and introduces some very interesting collaborations.
Julian is British, but has been living overseas since 1992. He is a scientist by training, with a degree in biochemistry. He moved to Malaysia in 1998, initially managing an environmental consulting company in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Tioman Island to pursue his dream of running his own dive center, which he did for six years. It was during that time that he became interested in Reef Check.
“coral restoration can turn divers into citizen scientists”
In 2006 he worked with a team to establish Reef Check Malaysia as a registered NGO in Malaysia. Since then he has worked to raise funds for the organization and to develop its programs which now include a national annual coral reef survey; education programs for schools; community-based projects, and coral restoration programs that turn divers into citizen scientists.
Julian has been a certified PADI dive instructor since 2000. He has certified over 700 people as PADI Open Water Divers and higher certifications. He is the only Reef Check Course Director in Malaysia, and has certified over 100 Eco-Divers and 20 Eco-Diver Trainers that allows them to perform their own reef surveys. He has conducted Reef Check surveys at sites around the coast of Malaysia and is actively involved in lobbying the Malaysian government to increase the protection of the reefs and the management of these unique natural resources by establishing new marine protected areas.
To further Sustainable Diving the Dive Industry must be more involved in Ocean Conservation and Marine Protected Areas.
“I think diving centers should be more involved in conservation … they can lobby [with] government [for the] management of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas).”
To hear Julian explain how the Reef Check program works and the difference between his program and other monitoring programs listen to Julian’s entire interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Julian Hyde. For details on the marine protected areas in Malaysia and the steps that local diving operations can take visit Reef Check Malaysia.
Another of our experts speaking about how scuba divers can become sustainable divers is Chloë Harvey. Chloe is a Marine Biologist that has dedicated her life to developing a program called Green Fins which is providing sustainable businesses and national authorities with the tools and support needed to implement sustainable practices and mitigate environmental risk. Through the UK charity Reef-World, and with the support of the UNEP, Chloë has built a skilled team who are successfully replicating Green Fins in major dive travel destinations across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and the Maldives turning them into sustainable travel destinations. Read about Chloe’s inspiring work at Ocean Profiles: Chloe Harvey.