Technical ReportPDF Available
Report
The Green Bubbles Open Workshop
Santa Margherita Ligure, Sept 26-27 2016
Green Bubbles is carried out by ten partners representing
universities, research centres, foundations and SMEs. Green
Bubbles’ partners are based in Italy, Malta, the Netherlands,
Tu rk e y, S o ut h A fr i ca an d th e U S A. Stakeholders such as divers,
professionals, operators, certification agencies - CAs, MPAs,
NGOs are also key components of the project. Direct
engagement with these is constantly sought for, to ensure
relevant feedback throughout the project’s lifetime, as well as
effective uptake of results at the end of the project. Indeed,
Green Bubbles is a project about diving and its positive as well
as negative potential impacts. It was conceived to support the
evolution of the diving system towards sustainability and to be
implemented together with key actors in such a system.
Green Bubbles is the EU-funded project on sustainable diving. Recreational SCUBA diving
has become a mass leisure activity engaging millions of divers worldwide. Further to tropical
coral reefs, divers visit almost any aquatic environment. For example, more than one million
dives per year are done in the Mediterranean Sea alone. The diving industry generates large
direct and indirect revenues for local communities and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Other benefits linked to diving include the promotion of environmental and ocean
stewardship, contribution to scientific research, fostering social inclusion and personal
development. Yet, diving has also negative impacts, due to damage or disturbance of
habitats and organisms and to conflicts with local communities for the access to/ use of the
same resources, equity issues, or cultural clashes. These aspects clearly relate to the three
pillars of sustainability, covering environmental, economic and social dimensions and can
only be addressed by a systemic approach.
The central objective of Green Bubbles is to maximise the benefits associated with
diving, whilst minimising its negative impacts, thus achieving the environmental, economic
and social sustainability of the system. This is being done by:
Carefully assessing and modelling the system itself
Developing innovative products based on the issues and needs highlighted by
assessment and modelling
Promoting the uptake of such products by the system designing tailored business models
and marketing plans
What is Green Bubbles?
1
What is the Green Bubbles Open Workshop?
2
Approaching its turning point over a 4-y life span, Green Bubbles organised its mid-term
internal meeting back-to-back with an Open Workshop, to present the results achieved so
far and discuss them with a variety of actors in the diving system. Between September 24
and 27, more than 50 people gathered together in Santa Margherita Ligure (Italy)
representing not only members of the Green Bubbles’ team or researchers from the
disciplines involved in the project, but also local authorities, dive centres from all over Italy,
training agencies, NGOs, international organisations, educators, manufacturers,
museums/aquaria, tourism operators and tourism-related businesses, communicators
and marketing experts. Some of the participants are shown in the picture below. A list of the
entities that took part in the Open Workshop is presented at the end of this document, along
with the programme of the event.
The Open Workshop was introduced by a summary of
the assessments performed during the first 18 months
of Green Bubbles. These activities have been mostly
carried out at the two project case study locations,
namely the Portofino MPA in Italy and the Partial Marine
Reserve of Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique. Further
research has been done through on-line surveys across
Europe and beyond, as well as by on-site interviews,
including at major European dive shows. SCUBA diving
was presented as an extremely diversified industry with
strong links to society, economy, technology,
management and ecology.
A comparison between the two case studies according
to dive centres’ owners suggests the industry provides
many local benefits but needs better support from the
community, other businesses and authorities to be
more resilient and sustainable. Solutions proposed by
owners themselves include better communication
between different stakeholders, softer meta-governance,
national recognition of their role. “Collaboration” was a
much-heard word during the Open Workshop. As
highlighted by invited key-note speaker Lénia Marques
(Bournemouth University and board member of the
World Leisure Organization), industry, community,
research, government, civil society, divers all need to
work together - it is the only sustainable way.
What are the key messages from the
Green Bubbles Open Workshop?
3
The Green Bubbles Open Workshop unfolded through about 30 oral communications from
an international, trans-disciplinary and multi-sectoral panel of speakers. Communications
were followed by open floor discussions, which provided useful feedback and ideas to be
incorporated in the coming activities. They were grouped under five themes, corresponding
to the main research lines of the project:
Theme 1. SCUBA diving systems: deeper understanding
Theme 2. SCUBA diving economies: integrated or isolated?
Theme 3. SCUBA diving, Ocean Literacy & schools
Theme 4. SCUBA diving, Citizen Science: merging business, conservation and research
Theme 5. Sustainable SCUBA diving and labels
UBICA slr
4
Communication is an important tool that businesses need to use not only to improve their
prospects (e.g. emphasising the value of the diving experience, or targeting specific
segments rather than a supposedly generalist audience) but also their reputation on the
local and national level. Furthermore, individual diving centres may need to team up among
themselves and with other components of the diving system when overall promotion of the
territory and of the industry is at stake. This is the case, for instance, of dive shows that play a
critical role in the marketing of a destination as a whole, but require substantial and long-time
investment to actually pay off. Effective communication relies on the identification of assets
that can be turned into value propositions. For dive operators, such assets include tourists,
the sea, competent staff, appropriate logistics and infrastructures. They are recognised as
resources” and are perceived as indispensable for survival, financial gain, and for the benefit
of human beings.
Assessments presented at the Open Workshop also regarded the underwater environment
at the two case study locations, which has been mapped and reconstructed using innovative
technologies and mixed model approaches. The obtained product is a finely detailed 3D
rendering that can be navigated and scaled as needed, to serve a variety of potential
applications in education, leisure, risk management and research. This technology could
be used in the context of citizen science initiatives aimed at supporting territorial
management and at reinforcing the collaboration between authorities, research and
business. Invited key-note speaker Joaquim Garrabou (Spanish National Research Council -
Institute of Marine Sciences and board member of the SeaWatchers initiative) remarked how
collaboration between divers, scientists and managers is essential to conservation
especially given the critical moment faced by world’s oceans, and by the Mediterranean Sea
in particular.
The relevance of citizen science initiatives involving SCUBA divers was further stressed
based on an analysis of about 200 examples from all over the world. The scientific credibility
of citizen science is increasingly recognised, and opportunities for the diving industry to tap
into new segments and markets are rising. The establishment of citizen science as a
structural component of the relationship between business and authorities opens up
new job opportunities for qualified staff (e.g. graduates holding professional diving
credentials), and paves the way to participatory governance. Additionally, direct
engagement of divers in research may increase awareness, both of environmental themes
and of safety aspects.
Not surprisingly, safety and risk management were two central topics discussed at the
Open Workshop. Divers segmentation (based on their recorded diving history, medical
history, lifestyle and attitudes) appears crucial to the design of preventive and responding
strategies that are fit for individual divers, rather than relying heavily on hypothetical standard
ones. Much of the current research about personalised diving safety thresholds relies on
the contribution of data by thousands of volunteers. Such data include diving profiles,
accompanying information and physiological measurements. The whole process is strongly
supported by development in devices, softwares, algorithms and procedures.
Education was a cross-cutting topic throughout the Open Workshop. As explained by
Géraldine Fauville (Gothenburg University and board member of the European Marine
Science Educators Association - EMSEA), an Ocean Literate society knows - and is able to
take informed decisions about - the marine environment. SCUBA diving is ideally placed to
reconnect humans and nature, and to promote Ocean Literacy across society. Successful
examples of initiatives merging diving, Ocean Literacy and schools were presented. Broader
adoption of similar programmes were discussed in the light of existing SCUBA training
materials and of technological innovation such as gaming and Virtual Reality. The power of
gaming to achieve educational or training goals was harnessed through the newly launched
Master Trim Competition. The initiative aims at improving divers’ buoyancy skills, to the
benefit of their safety as well as of habitat protection.
5
1
As confirmed by marine ecologist and MPA board member Riccardo Cattaneo Vietti in his
opening speech, the Portofino MPA is one of the hot-spots for SCUBA diving in the
Mediterranean Sea with up to 60.000 dives per year. The broader area around the MPA,
which includes the coastal town of Santa Margherita Ligure, is a cradle for commercial,
recreational and scientific SCUBA diving, supported by the presence of major equipment
producers and of a vibrant marine research scene. These are some of the reasons for
picking the Portofino MPA as one of the two case study locations of Green Bubbles. Holding
the Open Workshop in Santa Margherita Ligure was a way to present results and ongoing
activities there where much of them have been produced (or are being carried out), and to
the very people who have supported Green Bubbles’ work until now. So, what outcomes of
the Open Workshop my directly relate to the Portofino MPA and, more generally, to its
regional context?
What key outcomes may have direct
effects on the local context?
The Open Workshop provided an opportunity for bringing together different actors from the
local tourism industry, which is sometimes fragmented and not effectively integrated. It was
therefore possible to analyse some of the hurdles (extant or perceived) that hamper better
integration and mutual support. For instance, dive operators lamented that non-diving
family members may hold back divers from the activity. Proposals for jointly developed
packages targeting families and linking all assets of the territory (including its cultural and
gastronomic heritage, as well as terrestrial landscape) were therefore advanced. It was also
noted that divers may not be interested in other leisure activities, such as trekking or
snorkelling. This has often been claimed as a reason for the perceived disconnection
between the diving business and other local operators. However, valuable alternatives to
diving in case of bad sea conditions may provide mutual benefits to the different
operators, thereby reversing the trend by which divers would cancel their trip on the last
minute causing a missed gain for the whole system. Finally, it was noted that a better
integration between different operators may bring new people into SCUBA diving (e.g. by
adding a “try SCUBA” day to a package) and increase the overall attractiveness of the
destination.
6
4
3
2
One major goal of the Open Workshop was to boost networking between people,
actors and entities. One positive outcome from networking is shown in the
upcoming meeting Underwater Cultural Heritage at Marine Protected Areas in
the frame of Kas/Antalya and Portofino/Genova”, organised by Hakan Oniz
(Selcuk University and member of the UNESCO Unitwin Underwater Archaeology
Network, who also gave a communication in Santa Margherita Ligure) and
featuring several other participants of the Green Bubbles Open Workshop. The
meeting will give visibility to the Portofino MPA and to a still relatively poorly
promoted asset of the Ligurian seascape, its underwater cultural heritage.
Healthy Seas and Ghost Fishing gave complementary key-note communications
on the same global issue. Healthy Seas is a joint venture of a non-governmental
organisation and two businesses that share a common mission: clean the oceans
and seas of marine litter such as derelict fishnets responsible for the needless
death of marine animals. Ghost Fishing is a non-profit driven by technical divers
that initiates and promotes lost fishing gear removal initiatives worldwide. Further
to their presentations, these two initiatives showed interest into exploring the
situation in the Ligurian region, where they might team up with authorities,
fishers, divers and dive operators to support a blue circular economy.
Invited key-note speaker Chloe Harvey (The Reef World Foundation) presented Green Fins,
the only recognised environmental set of standards with a comprehensive management
approach to provide guidance and support for diving and snorkelling business owners and
for national authorities to promote best practices. The initiative is developed by UNEP (the
United Nations Environmental Programme) and Reef World, is proven to work in Asia, is
relevant to Europe and could be applied in Liguria. A collaboration between Green Bubbles
and Reef World has identified opportunities for implementation within the scope of the
Green Bubbles project.
7
5
Finally, the Open Workshop was the moment to present results from the painstaking field
work done thanks to all dive centres supporting Green Bubbles in the Portofino MPA
(parallel work in the Partial Marine Reserve of Ponta do Ouro still ongoing). Given the high
number of dives occurring in a very limited area, questions on the possible environmental
impacts of divers in the Portofino MPA are legitimate and have been raised more than once.
To start finding answers, Green Bubbles’ researchers have observed divers’ underwater
behaviour and registered any direct impacts like contacts with the bottom or organisms. This
wouldn’t be possible without the help of local operators, of their staff and of all the divers
that accepted to become our target subjects. In parallel, evidence for indirect impacts has
been looked for by assessing populations of iconic gorgonians (sea fans). A very low
number of direct contacts were observed during a two-months field-based work.
However, long-lasting consequences of mass mortality events (likely linked to global
changes) and fishing lines were noted for gorgonians. Taken together, these data indicate
that gorgonians’ status in the MPA is not directly correlated with exposure to divers, although
potential sublethal effects adding on major stressors were not investigated. These results are
definitely encouraging, suggesting that the Portofino MPA is visited by an overall conscious
and skilled diving population - a crucial milestone towards building a sustainable SCUBA
diving system, testifying the efforts undertaken by all actors (operators, authorities,
conservationists, divers) to achieve a common goal.
8
Aliation
Sector/Discipline
Acquario di Genova
ADISUB
Portono MPA
ASD I sette mari
Bournemouth University
Broad Way
Bubbles Lounge
Casa Emiliani
Municipality of Sori
Corderia Nazionale
Costa Edutainment
Spanish Institute of Marine Sciences
Cycnus Diving
DAFNE
DAN EU
Dive Passion
European Diving
FIAS
Studio Associato Gaia
Ghost Fishing
Gothenburg University
Coast Guard
Healthy Seas
Innovasub
Parla Come Mangi
Genoa Maritime Museum
NHTV Breda
North-West University
Portono Park
Portonodivers
Reef World Foundation
Scubapro
UNESCO Unitwin Underwater Archaeology Network
Selcuk University
Style Diving
UBICA srl
UNEP-WCMC
Genoa University
Palermo University
Polytechnic University of Marche
Aquarium
Association of Training Agencies (IDEA, PADI, PSS, SSI)
Local authority
Diving Center
Tourism enterprise
Communication/Marketing enterprise
Diving Center
Tourism enterprise
Local authority
Diving Center
Tourism enterprise
Marine Biology and Ecology
Diving Center
Tourism enterprise
GB member or Advisory Board
Diving Center
Diving Center
Training Agency
GB member or Advisory Board
NGO
Ocean Literacy
Local authority
NGO
GB member or Advisory Board
Tourism enterprise
Museum
GB member or Advisory Board
GB member or Advisory Board
Local authority
Diving Center
NGO
Manufacturer
Underwater cultural heritage
Underwater cultural heritage
Diving Center
GB member or Advisory Board
GB member or Advisory Board
Marine Biology and Ecology
GB member or Advisory Board
GB member or Advisory Board
List of entities that joined the Green Bubbles internal meeting and/or Open Workshop
9
Programme of the Green Bubbles Open Workshop
Start time
Monday 26 September
Monday 26 September
Monday 26 September
Tuesday 27 September
Tuesday 27 September
Tuesday 27 September
Session
Speaker
Topic
Session
Speaker
Topic
9.00
9.15
9.30
9.45
10.00
10.15
10.30
10.45
11.00
11.15
11.30
11.45
12.00
12.15
12.30
12.45
13.00
13.15
13.30
13.45
14.00
14.15
14.30
14.45
15.00
15.15
15.30
15.45
16.00
16.15
16.30
16.45
17.00
17.15
17.30
17.45
18.00
18.15
Theme 3
SCUBA diving, Ocean Literacy
and schools
Milanese
Welcome to the workshop
Theme 3
SCUBA diving, Ocean Literacy
and schools
Milanese
Bringing diving into schools
Welcome speeches
Cerrano
Introducing Green Bubbles
Theme 3
SCUBA diving, Ocean Literacy
and schools
Figurella
The Scuola d’aMare initiative
Cattaneo
Diving in Portofino
Theme 3
SCUBA diving, Ocean Literacy
and schools
Ferretti
Content analysis of dive courses
Lucrezi
Comparing systems - what operators think
Palma
Virtual Reality, Ocean Literacy and SCUBA diving
Theme 1
SCUBA diving systems:
deeper understanding
Lucrezi
Segmenting SCUBA divers
coffee break
Egi
Epidemiology in divers
Keynotes - Ghost fishing, a global Mission
Healthy Seas - a journey from waste to wear
Theme 4
SCUBA diving and
Citizen Science:
merging business,
conservation & research
Altepe
The breathing monitoring project
Theme 4
SCUBA diving and
Citizen Science:
merging business,
conservation & research
Bavestrello
70 y of scientific diving on the Portofino Promontory
Theme 1
continued
Palma
Coral reefs of Ponta do Ouro
Theme 4
SCUBA diving and
Citizen Science:
merging business,
conservation & research
Cerrano
CS, conservation and diving
Theme 1
continued
Milanese
Do divers damage gorgonians in the Portofino MPA?
Theme 4
SCUBA diving and
Citizen Science:
merging business,
conservation & research
Panebianco
Mapping underwater habitats with volunteer divers
Theme 1
continued
Garrabou
Keynote - Diving impact on marine conservation:
Theme 4
SCUBA diving and
Citizen Science:
merging business,
conservation & research
Pieri
CS for the safety of divers & of the marine environment
a view from a marine biologist
Egi
CS, diving and diabetics research
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
lunch
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
Theme 5
Sustainable SCUBA diving
and labels
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
Champaneria
Diving business & marketing with case-study insights
Theme 5
Sustainable SCUBA diving
and labels
Lucrezi
Sustainability & diving - asking operators
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
Theme 5
Sustainable SCUBA diving
and labels
Pieri
HIRA and SCUBA diving
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
Theme 5
Sustainable SCUBA diving
and labels
Lucrezi
Better career prospects thanks to SCUBA diving
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
Hakan
The value of underwater heritage for tourism
Pieri
A better diver - the Master Trim Competition
Theme 2
SCUBA diving economies:
integrated or isolated?
De Cantis
Monitoring visitors’ activities: a pilot study in Ustica
coffee break
Theme 2
continued
De Girolamo
Integrated offers in Portofino
Open floor discussion
for Theme 3, Theme 4
and Theme 5
Theme 2
continued
Knoop
Crêuza de mä
Open floor discussion
for Theme 3, Theme 4
and Theme 5
Girani
A fish out of water
Open floor discussion
for Theme 1 and Theme 2
Open session in Italian
Milanese
Summary of the five themes and ensuing discussions,
Open floor discussion
for Theme 1 and Theme 2
Lucrezi
in Italian
Open floor discussion
for Theme 1 and Theme 2
10
Acknowledgments
The Green Bubbles team wishes to thank all dive operators, dive staff and divers - in the
Portofino MPA, in the Partial Marine Reserve of Ponta do Ouro but also beyond the two case
study locations - who lent themselves to the research carried out by the project. Clearly,
without their continuous support no progress could have been made. The complete list of
the operators affiliated to Green Bubbles can be found on the project website. Thanks are
also due to the local authorities at the two case study locations, and in particular to the
managers of the local protected areas. They are an essential interface to the local dive
systems.
The Green Bubbles Open Workshop could be organised thanks to the work of many Green
Bubbles early stage researchers and to the professional staff at Hotel Regina Elena in
Santa Margherita Ligure. The participation of the project External Advisory Board, of the
different speakers as well as of the representatives from a broad range of stakeholders
groups was key to the success of the event - Green Bubbles wishes to express special
gratitude to them all.
The Green Bubbles project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement
No 643712. This press release reflects only the authors’ view. The Research Executive
Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Funding
11
www.greenbubbles.eu
info@greenbubbles.eu
FB @greenbubbles.project
TT @GB_RISE
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