Camel Eco Tribe
Protect. Respect. Red Sea
Support our team’s efforts to conserve our small corner of the Red Sea. Our staff has daily contact with divers and snorkellers who visit us from all over the world, as well as with residents of Sharm El Sheikh. This makes us uniquely placed to inform, educate and practice reef conservation and environmental awareness. We are involved in several long term projects, listed below. Check our news blog and Facebook page for our latest updates.
Supporting Project AWARE
We are a patron of Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education). We make regular donations to support the work of Project AWARE, and encourage our student divers to purchase a special edition Project AWARE certification card like the one pictured here.
During 2011 we’ve supported other Project AWARE activities:
- We have our own ‘My Ocean’ page on the new Project AWARE, launched in 2011
- For the European Shark Week 2011, we collected over 200 signatures for the Give Sharks a Fighting Chance campaign
- In September 2011, our divers made a huge contribution as part of Dive for Debris month. In total, 79 Camel guests took part, cleaning 13 dive sites and removing 195 kilos of debris from our part of the Red Sea. Volunteers were rewarded with ice cold refreshments in the Camel Bar on our Divers Nights throughout the month! Our instructors complete a data card after each clean up event, noting what was found underwater. Project AWARE says, “This data paints a true picture of debris issues beneath the surface”. The data collected contributes to research and lobbying with the aim of improving waste management policies around the world.
Monitoring Endangered Species
Data collected by our instructors helps organisations with which we work, to preserve marine life more effectively. This is what is becoming widely known as ‘citizen science’. Our partners include:
- HEPCA Turtle Watch: Our instructors help gather important data on Red Sea turtle behaviour in feeding and nesting grounds by submitting sightings and photographs monthly.
- The Shark Trust: Our instructors post shark sightings and photos on the Shark Trust database. We support European Shark Week by hosting a pub quiz every October, and donate a percentage from sales of our special Tribe T-shirts designed by concept artist Dan Lish.
- Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna:We support the Foundation’s worldwide investigation into the migratory patterns of giant manta rays (Manta birostris) by collecting data and ID photographs of manta sightings in Sharm El Sheikh. We hosted the organisation’s founder Dr Andrea Marshall,on her research trip to the Red Sea in 2010, and continue to collaborate with her on our environmental activities.
Educating and informing
Each year we host visiting marine biologists. They join our dive boats to answer questions and provide more information to divers and snorkelers about marine life and habitats. Our Eco Tribe team organises regular presentations by pioneers of diving and conservation, at our Tuesday Divers Nights in Camel Bar. Guest speakers have included award winnng underwater photographers Maria Munn and Dr Alex Mustard, wreck expert Peter Collings, The Shark Project’s Andreas Bode and of course, Dr Andrea Marshall. For more than 10 years we have worked closely with major international tour operators to brief their local representatives about reef conservation, so they may properly inform their visitors to Sharm El Sheikh. We ensure that every year thousands of holidaymakers are informed about the importance of not touching coral or feeding fish, for example. We maintain an active role in educating local schoolchildren in Sharm. For World Ocean Day 2011, we held colouring competition at Sharm El Sheikh schools, and exhibited all entries in the diving center. Three of the entries were very topical, sporting the colours of the Egyptian flag, peace signs and ‘we love Egypt’ in Arabic!
Reducing the impact of our hotel and diving operations
We are working towards making Camel Hotel and our diving operations more environmentally friendly. Examples of work we have completed in this area include:
- Introducing an innovative solar heating system for our swimming pool. During winter this enables us to keep the pool at a comfortable temperature for diver training, without consuming large amounts of electricity.
- Across our operation, replacing plastic bags with paper and/or biodegradable bags.
- Installed waste bins at Naama Bay jetty, to prevent rubbish from ending up in the water.
- Introducing re-usable caps for our tanks, to replace ‘tank tape’ (‘cap on’ indicates a full tank, ‘cap off’ an empty tank).
- Reducing plastic cup use on our dive boats, to cut the amount of waste we generate.
- Replaced older IT equipment that has a higher power consumption, with newer more efficient models.
There is always room for improvement but we have already received some awards for our efforts so far: PADI Green Star Award, Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award, Project AWARE Certificate of Recognition, Clean Sharm Award and Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Award.
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