At a glittering function in the Municipal auditorium Wilfred Chivell was honoured for his outstanding work in the fields of marine ecology, marine research and general dedication to the environment. His responsible and ethical marine tourism businesses support the Dyer Island Conservation Trust which gives back in money and in kind to the environment in which he operates. Our sincere congratulations to Wilfred for a richly deserved accolade.
Through his companies Marine Dynamics Shark Tours (MD) and Dyer Island Cruises (DIC), Wilfred Chivell has taken commercial tourism enterprises to a new level of operating responsibility. Wilfred employs marine biologists, raises funds for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) and supports crucial studies of endangered or vulnerable species – Great White Sharks, African penguins as well as whales and dolphins – in the greater Dyer Island area in an effort to better understand and protect them.
Wilfred is raising the bar in a competitive shark cage diving industry. Instead of running his companies purely for commercial gain, Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises are leaders in conservation, using the time spent at sea to benefit the understanding of the marine environment and actively facilitating research. Both companies have marine biologists on board vessels who feed back research data to Oceans & Coasts (Dept of Environmental Affairs).
Marine Dynamics was the first to use only fish products in chumming practices while others continued to use shark livers. Although not illegal at the time, Wilfred found this practice to be highly unethical – using one shark species to feed another shark. This has been instrumental in bringing about changes in permit conditions, compelling all operators not to use shark products for chumming.
MD & DIC initiated two penguin conferences, and were instrumental in subsequent lobbying for re-evaluation of the status of penguins from ‘vulnerable species’ to ‘endangered’. The artificial penguin nests funded under DICT’s ‘Faces of Need’ project reach more than half of breeding colonies, helping to stem further decline in population size.
Through the Trust, the community is reached through participation with eco schools and the Dibanisa Football Foundation and other local school activities.
He initiated the fishing line bin project which is to reach the coastline of South Africa and will act as an icon for addressing the issue of marine pollution.
Wilfred is also involved in all aspects of animal rescues in the area and has a wealth of knowledge in this regard.
Wilfred is changing the way the shark cage diving industry is viewed and enjoys the support of other conservation organisations as well as Two Oceans Aquarium and Africa Geographic. He has structured a business model that not only stimulates ethical tourism and creates employment but also benefits the environment by protecting our marine heritage.
Whale Coast Conservation thanks you and salutes you.