Ethical Standards Review

The Underwater Tour Awards strive to ensure the natural world is depicted both creatively and honestly, with due regard shown to the welfare of all marine life and habitats.

An Ethics Clause is contained in the competition’s Terms and Conditions, which all entrants agree to upon entry.  

To ensure entries align with these ideals, the first stage of judging only takes place after all images undergo the Ethics Review process, which is conducted by renowned Marine biologist, Dr Richard Smith. 

If an image is flagged as a part of this review process, the entrant is asked to respond to any concerns via a request for specific information. If the information provided by the entrant allays the concerns raised in the review, the image continues on to judging. 

From Richard:

“We understand that nature can show us the unexpected. Being present for and capturing these moments makes underwater photography both challenging and rewarding. Underwater photographers are able to shoot moments, which no other diver or scientist may ever have observed. This also makes an ethics review tricky. By asking photographers to respond to any concerns we may have flagged, we can only take their responses at face value and if no obvious manipulation or harassment is described then an image can proceed. Please consider the welfare of each animal you shoot in your own photography and show the natural world the respect it deserves.”

All images displayed in the Competition Gallery have passed the Ethics Review.  

If an image did not pass the review process, it would not be included in judging and would not be displayed in the Competition Gallery. 

What’s with the dot? 
To make people aware of the Ethics Review process, we have marked all images with either a Green Dot or an Orange+Green Dot as detailed below.


The image passed the Ethics Review and was cleared for judging.
The image was flagged in the initial review;
The entrant was given the opportunity to address any questions or concerns;
The entrant’s response pertaining to the photograph allayed the concerns of the Ethics Review;
The image subsequently passed the Ethics Review and was cleared for judging.
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