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"Fins into the water - Ocean Literacy into practice" is an outreach and education initiative aimed at the diving sector. This work has been finalized during the year 2022 and intercepted different contexts of the Italian peninsula. The most valuable...


"Fins into the water ocean literacy into practice" is a field-based initiative aimed at introducing the Ocean Literacy in the daily practice of the diving sector, turning into concrete actions the too often theoretical speculation characterizing the research and academic world into something valuable also for the daily routine of the diving professionals, who afterall, are the really daily engaged people in the marine environment. All the activities have been performed in collaboration with different representatives of the SCUBA diving sector and acted on favour of different teaching agencies sharing the same standards at EU level (RSTC standards).

From the very beginning this initiative conceived as a personally-driven contribution acted at the interface between the scientific and recreational diving, has been driven till the end as a bottom-up initiative where the contribution of some valuable an experienced diving professionals have been considered as the driving force of the final outcome achieved. The added value of this initiative is that, even though finalized in an historically well-managed MPA (renowned at national level for a quite long tradition in marine conservation and citizen science education), it occurred in a MPA heading vacancy period. As marine scientists and conservation practictioners we know how delicate a transitional period can be from a management perspective and how illegal activities contrast can represent a urgent priority in these circumstances ensuring a long-lasting protection. Empowering some representatives of the most long-tradition local enterprise in the diving sector in the role of marine stewardship, acting a crucial role in a delicate transitional period, has been a challenge, exactly keeping these needs in mind!

During the field experience a deilcate liason work has been finalized also toward the local authority of MPA, since interacting with the field-based colleagues a tangible mistrust toward this institution have been detected. On this perspective, some preliminary data have been shared officially with the MPA representatives after the end of the field work season and the diving professionals became coauthors of this contribution. From these preliminary observations upcoming restoration interventions will come in the near futureengaging also other marine professionals active across Europe. It is a really rewarding achievement both from a social and scientific perspective, since is a once in a lifetime occasion to demostrate how the change can come even from unexpected contexts and experiences sometimes.

Additionally, the main characteristic of the finalized work is the central role of the Local Ecological Knowledge in the project goal achievement.

A printable manual is the final outcome and the most tangible result of the field-based mission. This product aimed mainly at diving professionals and recreational divers is part of a personal commitment in the field of marine education and Ocean Literacy research. The outcome of the personal work is the result of a multiperspective field-based commitment and is part of a wider multidisciplinary approach to environmental research. The main goal of this work is the educational dimension in line with the purposes of the SDG14 and is conceived in line with the OL principles, at the basis of the wider outreach mission, promoted under the leading supervision of the IOC-UNESCO in the framework of the UN Decade 2021-2030 for Ocean Sciences.

The manual, due to its nature, won't be commercialized in the traditional workflow of educational manuals of any SCUBA diving teaching agency. This is a precise choice to make the diving professional able to extrapolate from this "model publication" only the essential information which can be usefully introduced in the daily briefing practice. On this perspective, still recognizing the driving role of the Sardinian diving center as the pilot site of this method, the manual will remain as a reference publication conceived in an educational perspective which can be adapted locally even from other SCUBA diving community stakeholders according to the locally-identified needs.

The manual has been recognized also as a UN Decade publication and in its english translated version will be shared on the UN Decade Forum website soon.