CORAL's Open Letter to Dive Industry:
CORAL and Other Non-Profits
Offer a Way to Keep Divers Diving
and Keep Coral Reefs Alive 

January 16, 1999
Shawn Reifsteck, Managing Director
Tel: (510) 848-0110, Fax: (510) 848-3720
Email: info@coral.org

New Orleans, LA -- "A healthy dive industry depends on a healthy environment" so begins an 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 include American Oceans Campaign, The Cambrian Foundation, Center for Marine Conservation, CORAL-The Coral Reef Alliance, NOAA, PADI's Project A.W.A.R.E., REEF, Reef Ball, Reef Relief and Starfish Reef Builders Ltd.

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, Managing Director 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:

This "open letter" will appear in the April Trade News of
Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine.
This special section reaches over 12,000 dive industry members.

An open letter to the dive industry:

A healthy dive industry depends on a 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 of 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 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 play an active role in preserving and protecting the environment.

While many DEMA members are already doing their part 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 that protecting their waters is just smart business.

We are all in this together. . . and together we can make a difference: helping the dive industry 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
e-mail: aocjd@wizard.net
The Cambrian Foundation
Terrence N. Tysall
1500 Miller Ave., Suite A
Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: 407-644-8446
Fax: 407-644-5820
e-mail: cambrian@sundial.net
Center for Marine Conservation
David J. Dickson
1725 DeSales Street, NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-429-5609
Fax: 202-872-0619
e-mail: ddickson@dccmc.org
CORAL-The Coral Reef Alliance
Shawn Reifsteck
2014 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: 510-848-0110
Fax: 510-848-3720
e-mail: info@coral.org
Dolphin Cove
Wayne Blevins
Phone Number: 305-451-4060
e-mail: wayne@www.dophinscove.com
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
e-mail: kristinv@padi.com
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
John Pitcairn
P.O. Box 246
Key Largo, FL 33037
Phone: 305-451-0312
Fax: 305-451-0028
e-mail: reef003@aol.com
Reef Ball Development Group
Todd Barber
P.O. Box 3349
Sarasota, FL 34320-3349
Phone: 941-752-0169
Fax: 941-752-1033
e-mail: reefball@america.net
Reef Ball Foundation, Inc.
Kathy Kirbo
P.O. Box 3349
Sarasota, FL 34320-3349
Phone: 941-752-0169
Fax: 941-752-1033
e-mail: reefball@america.net
Reef Relief
Michael Blades
P.O. Box 430
Key West, FL 33041
Phone: 305-294-3100
Fax: 305-293-9515
e-mail: reef@bellsouth.net

CORAL- The Coral Reef Alliance