In 2020, Enric Sala, founder of Pristine Seas and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, approached PADI with the idea to join forces to protect the ocean, combining his vision and proven track record of successfully creating MPAs with the global footprint and extensive reach of the PADI community around the globe. PADI dive centres and resorts are critical stakeholders in their local economies and their leadership, together with the influence and expertise of Sala and his team at National Geographic Pristine Seas, can be a catalyst for lasting change for a return to a healthy ocean and balanced marine ecosystem.
“Ocean conservation benefits everyone, especially the diving sector. We are excited to partner with PADI and all their dive centres worldwide to foster the protection of popular dive sites all around the world,” said Enric Sala.
Initiating this partnership is a global Dive Industry Economic Evaluation Survey to measure the economic benefits of the dive industry on local communities, using data from PADI dive centres and resorts in 186 countries. In co-operation with researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Simon Fraser University, this analysis will be used to inform governments how the creation of MPAs can create jobs and produce important economic outputs locally.
PADI will engage its Mission Hubs, the 6,600 dive centres and resorts who are the heart of the organisation’s ‘save the ocean' mission, in a survey to provide the data necessary to complete this study. The information gathered through PADI Mission Hub participation in the survey will be an integral component of the study that will be used to influence local and national governments to establish marine protected areas and protect marine environments for divers and other stakeholders.
“PADI Mission Hubs play a critical role in our Blueprint for Ocean Action and are key stakeholders in the push for increased protection measures for the underwater world,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Each PADI operator brings unique insights, local expertise, community leadership and passion for our ocean. By coming together as a unified force, the PADI community in partnership with National Geographic Pristine Seas will provide an unprecedented global voice to influence long-term ocean protections.”
Over the last 12 years, Pristine Seas has completed 32 expeditions around the world and helped inspire the creation of 24 marine reserves, protecting over 6.5 million square kilometres of ocean — an area more than twice the size of India. They work with local communities and governments to survey their environments, identify their goals and protect vital ocean areas.
The Dive Industry Economic Evaluation Survey will be available to PADI Dive Centres and Resorts through the remainder of the year. To learn more about PADI’s Blueprint for Ocean Action and other ways you can join the community of PADI Torchbearers in protecting the ocean, visit: padi.com/conservation.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society