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

DEMA show

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:

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
Jennifer Dianto
600 Pennsylvania Ave Suite 210
Washington DC 20003
Phone: 202-544-3526
Fax: 202-544-5625
email: aocjd@wizard.net
web site: www.americanoceans.org
CORAL - The Coral Reef Alliance
Shawn Reifsteck
64 Shattuck Square, Suite 220
Berkeley CA 94704
Phone: 510-848-0110
Fax: 510-848-3720
email: coralmail4@aol.com
web site: www.coral.org
The Cambrian Foundation
Terrence Tysall
1500 Miller Ave. Suite A
Winter Park FL 32789
Phone: 407-644-8446
Fax: 407-644-5820
email: cambrian@sundial.net
web site: www.cfhq.com
Dolphin Cove
Wayne Blevins
Phone: 305-451-4060
email: wayne@dolphinscove.com
Center for Marine Conservation
David J. Dickson
1725 DeSales Street NW Suite 600
Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202-429-5609
Fax: 202-872-0619
email: ddickson@dccmc.org
web site: www.cmc-ocean.org
PADI / Project A.W.A.R.E. Foundation
Kristin Valette
30151 Tomas Street
Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688-2125
Phone: 949-858-7657
Fax: 949-858-7521
email: kristinv@padi.com
web site: www.projectaware.org
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
John Pitcairn
PO Box 246
Key Largo FL 33037
Phone: 305-451-0312
Fax: 305-451-0028
email: reef003@aol.com
web site: www.reef.org
Reef Ball Development Group
Todd Barber
PO Box 3349
Sarasota FL 34320-3349
Phone: 941-752-0169
Fax: 941-752-1033
email: reefball@america.net
web site: www.reefball.com
Reef Ball Foundation Inc.
Kathy Kirbo
PO Box 3349
Sarasota FL 34320-3349
Phone: 941-752-0169
Fax: 941-752-1033
email: reefball@america.net
web site: www.reefball.org
Reef Relief
Michael Blades
PO Box 430
Key West FL 33041
Phone: 305-294-3100
Fax: 305-293-2076
email: reef@bellsouth.net