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Marine Science

WORLD’S FIRST SUSTAINABLE SNORKELING STANDARD LAUNCHED BY FRIEND OF THE SEA

World’s First Sustainable Snorkeling Standard Launched by Friend of the Sea

Enables tour operators to offer snorkeling activities that people can truly enjoy while protecting the marine environment

Friend of the Sea, the preeminent global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, announced today that it has created the world’s first standard for sustainable snorkeling. The organization developed the standard as a way to protect the marine environment from this hugely popular activity, which is enjoyed by millions of people. With the standard, tour operators can offer snorkeling that minimizes impact on marine life.

“You might not think snorkeling is harmful to the environment, but the scale of it and the locations for snorkeling—coupled with understandable human curiosity about aquatic life can lead to serious problems,” said Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “Without realizing it, snorkelers can cause significant disturbance to a marine ecosystem. That’s the issue we’re addressing with this standard.”

The snorkeling standard is comparable to the organization’s standard for sustainable sea turtle watching. It prohibits touching or feeding any marine organism, for example. The standard includes training for tour operators on how to instruct people to snorkel sustainably. It encourages scientific data collection. Monouse plastics are prohibited in snorkeling programs.

Operators can apply confidentially to be accredited for the standard. The certification is voluntary and not mandatory to gain access to markets. The application process is not discriminatory based on the size, scale, management and minimum number of operators. The application is available online at

https://friendofthesea.org/marine-conservation-projects-and-awareness/sustainable-snorkeling/