|AMERICAN OCEANS CAMPAIGN|
PRESS RELEASE 1999
Open Letter to Dive Industry
Asking for Ocean Conservation
Shawn Reifsteck, Managing Director, Coral Reef Alliance - 510-848-0110
Jennifer Dianto, Outreach Coordinator, American Oceans Campaign - 202-544-3526 ext.13
New Orleans LA -- January 16, 1999 - "A healthy dive industry depends on a healthy environment." So begins the open letter to the dive industry from a coalition of nine conservation organizations participating in the DEMA Show '99 in New Orleans.
The organizations represented included American Oceans Campaign, The Cambrian Foundation, Center for Marine Conservation, CORAL - The Coral Reef Alliance, Dolphin Cove, PADI's Project A.W.A.R.E., REEF, Reef Ball Foundation, Reef Ball Development Group, Ltd. Reef Relief and Reef Ball Coalition.
At a press conference on January 16, 1999, these organizations gathered to encourage the dive industry to invest in the protection of the underwater environment, pointing out that "protecting their waters is just smart business."
The conservation organizations demonstrated that they exist due to the support of tens of thousands of divers and snorkelers committed to keeping the underwater world healthy.
In his opening remarks, Shawn Reifsteck, Manging Directof for CORAL - The Coral Reef Alliance, stated that "Far too often, the business community and the environmental community are considered adversaries. Here is a chance for all of us to work together both to help the dive industry grow and protect our underwater environment for current and future divers."
Following is the open letter:
An open letter to the dive industry:
A healthy dive industry depends on an healthy environment. As DEMA members, we applaud DEMA's recent initiatives to improve the dive industry and offer our strongest support. We welcome the opportunity to join fellow DEMA members in strengthening and growing the dive industry, but we strongly recommend that one simple truth not be forgotten as the dive industry moves forward:
If we want the dive industry to grow, we must invest in the environment.
A primary business objective for DEMA is to keep divers diving. What motivates divers to keep diving? Interesting things to do and see underwater.
In a PADI survey, 91% of divers identified "the dive experience" - what they saw and did underwater - as the most important element in the choice of diving destinations. Similarly, in the recent Bulldog Drummond report, the vast majority fo divers surveyed indicated that they dove to explore the underwater world; to learn about and appreciate the beauty of aquatic habitats.
Our coalition of conservation organizations represents tens of thousands of divers and snorkelers committed to healthy aquatic environments. On their behalf and on behalf of the millions of other divers and snorkelers who care about the underwater environment, we, the undersigned organizations, propose two simple, low-cost actions to keep divers active and protect the environment:
- We encourage DEMA and its members to support a wide range of diver activities that help the environment such as fish surveys, reef monitoring and underwater cleanups. These activities keep divers diving, make them feel good about their underwater experiences, and improve our understanding and the health of the underwater world. Furthermore, we recommend that the dive industry support education and awareness programs designed to educate divers and snorkelers about the health of aquatic environments.
- We recommend that DEMA and its members support the creation and management of marine protected areas, such as marine parks and reserves, where divers can enjoy the underwater world. Divers want to dive in a healthy aquatic environment; without protection, many of these areas are disappearing fast.
As DEMA members, we are committed to guiding and supporting the dive industry to reach these objectives. We have the expertise and willingness to do so, and look forward to partnering with DEMA and its members to ensure that the dive industry plays an active role in preserving and protecting the environment.
While many DEMA members are already doing their pat to help protect the underwater environment in their dive destinations, we encourage the industry to increase their commitment to maintaining the health of their businesses by maintaining the health of their aquatic environments. Everyone in the dive industry must realize the protecting their waters is just smart business.
We are all in this together... and together we can make a difference: helping the dive industry to grow while protecting our waters for current and future divers.
We look forward to working with all DEMA members to make this vision a reality.
Contact information for each representative of the coalition of conservation organizations:
American Oceans Campaign
600 Pennsylvania Ave Suite 210
Washington DC 20003
web site: www.americanoceans.org
CORAL - The Coral Reef Alliance
64 Shattuck Square, Suite 220
Berkeley CA 94704
web site: www.coral.org
The Cambrian Foundation
1500 Miller Ave. Suite A
Winter Park FL 32789
web site: www.cfhq.com
Center for Marine Conservation
David J. Dickson
1725 DeSales Street NW Suite 600
Washington DC 20036
web site: www.cmc-ocean.org
PADI / Project A.W.A.R.E. Foundation
30151 Tomas Street
Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688-2125
web site: www.projectaware.org
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
PO Box 246
Key Largo FL 33037
web site: www.reef.org
Reef Ball Development Group
PO Box 3349
Sarasota FL 34320-3349
web site: www.reefball.com
Reef Ball Foundation Inc.
PO Box 3349
Sarasota FL 34320-3349
web site: www.reefball.org
PO Box 430
Key West FL 33041