[Coral-List] ICRS and IYOR 2008: getting the word out

Ali Miller alimiller at whale-mail.com
Wed Jun 11 13:03:01 EDT 2008

Dear Sarah,
Thank you so much for expressing your concern with the lack of knowledge
of the IYOR in the diving community. As an avid diver, I believe this is
something that should be made a priority in the diving community, and I
have, too noticed not many divers even know what the IYOR is
celebrating. I recently visited Cozumel and Bonaire. In Cozumel, there
was no sign of any IYOR recognition, but in Bonaire, there were banners
everywhere, which made me feel better. 
I personally think the best way to get the word out is through DEMA and
the training agencies, as they are the ones creating new divers and
trying to retain the current divers. DEMA has launched a huge
advertising campaign titled "Be A Diver". I will talk with my boss to
see if we can get IYOR incorporated some how into the DEMA campaign and
I will also try to publish something on Dive Newswire to try and get the
word out. 
As reefs are the life of the dive business, I believe all dive
organizations should have a vested interest in their health.
Thank you for your concerns,
Ali Miller
Training and Travel Coordinator
Denver Divers
alimiller at denver-divers.com

<-----Original Message----->
From: Sarah Frias-Torres [sfrias_torres at hotmail.com]
Sent: 6/11/2008 11:47:16 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] ICRS and IYOR 2008: getting the word out

Dear Coral-Listers and ICRS organizers,

January this year to last weekend I have been scuba diving in the
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach area, using regular dive charters. Each
time I had the chance, I asked fellow divers in the boat, and the dive
masters and boat captains if they knew about the upcoming International
Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale and associated outreach

I was surprised to see that most of the divers asked did not know of
such event, have not seen it on the local newspapers, news media, and my
mention of it was the first time they knew such an event existed. And
only 25 % knew that 2008 is the International Year of the Reef.
Only the dive masters and captains of three dive shops knew about the
conference and IYOR: Prodive usa (which has now closed business),
American Dream and Pura vida divers (which are the two dive shops
providing organized trips for symposium attendees). 
Further, while flying in and out the Miami and Fort Lauderdale
international airports during the last 12 months, (which are likely the
airports that will absorb most of the symposium attendees, and are
indeed the entry point for Florida, Caribbean and connecting flights to
the Americas), I did not see a sign of any slide show, video, or visual
aid related to the International year of the Reef. I only saw a
beautiful coral reef photo from NOAA in a corridor connecting terminals
D and E (I think that was the correct direction) in Miami International

Maybe there is some PR campaign I don't know of, or maybe public service
announcements will be provided to the community at some point, but it
seems to me that a great opportunity to reach out to the general public
and to specific users (i.e. the scuba diving community) has been missed.
Considering the desperate situation of most of the coral reefs worldwide
I find this lack of exposure quite disturbing.

We are about the half way mark of IYOR and gearing up for ICRS.... so
any ideas on how to get the word out?

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. 
Marine Conservation Biologist
Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Fort Pierce, Florida, USA

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