[Coral-List] NGOs, Corals and Dive Industry

Martina Milanese m.milanese at studioassociatogaia.com
Wed Nov 20 13:17:55 EST 2013

Dear Steve,

I refrained from writing but over the past few months I have read enough
posts about diving and this last finally convinced me.

I am a diver since 1993, and have been working in the diving industry since
1999. And yes, I am also a marine scientist. During my years in the
university world I often heard things like "all divers are monkeys, they are
not able to dive and don't understand anything about the marine
environment". This especially applied to the instructors and dive masters.
Ironically, those who were speaking from the academic ivory tower would
hardly dive more than twice per year - if ever - and would never use a dive
center (so how would they know?). To me it was nonsense. At that time I was
already collaborating with some schools and could clearly see that:

1. Not all divers or professionals were dummy or ocean illiterate.
2. Some knew much more than me and I could just sit and learn.

I did not have a scholarship for my PhD, hence paid my bills working as a
diver. I worked with thousands of different people and yes, not all divers
are aware, careful, thoughtful, literate and so on. But a sentence like "The
average diver follows their edicts with something akin to religious fervor"
is simply unjust. Also, the overall idea that you can (or maybe shall?)
manipulate their mind to imprint whatever belief (for good it may sound)
makes me shiver. 

Now grown and wiser I realise the potential of divers. They belong to any
layer of society, cut across cultures and have families and friends. What an
audience in reach! As for data sources, and apart from citizen science
examples, believe me: an instructor that dives the same place 200 times a
year is an invaluable person to team up with, when you want to know what's
going on down there.

Also, and that's something that we (marine scientists) should think about
more often, without a diving industry we would hardly do our job as we are
used to. If we can dive within statistically safe boundaries, rely on easy
and cheap gear (including very nice and handy cameras and the likes), nearly
everywhere in the world with no need to plan for a dedicated expedition...
well that's because we benefit from the services of a global diving

Just to be clear: I am not saying it's all fine and perfect. I also see the
dark side of it, as in so many human endeavours. But I think the million
divers (including professionals) around the globe deserve some more respect.
As someone just wrote, it's a two ways road.

Sincerely yours


On 20/11/13 16.56, "Steve Mussman" <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

>    This pertinent question was raised off-list: Can't the diving industry
>    acknowledge the problems and speak out
>    on the need for action without someone requiring them to pony up money?
>    That was exactly the point I was attempting to make. What we are looking
> for
>    from industry leaders is not funding, but acknowledgement, leadership and
>    guidance. In fact, there suddenly seems to be a groundswell of support for
>    proactive engagement derived from divers and business leaders who have
>    studied  and understand the issues at hand. At least those who are not
>    predisposed  to reject  scientifically-based findings because they may
>    contradict  some  core beliefs. The way that the diving industry works
>    provides mystifying powers of persuasion to certification agencies (and
>    directors). The average diver follows their edicts with something akin to
>    religious fervor. If divers can simply be encouraged to follow the science
>    rather than rhetoric designed specifically to discredit conclusions based
> on
>    methodical   studies,   we   might   be   able  to  make  progress  by
>    implementing actions designed to mitigate the blighting impacts currently
>    anticipated.
>    Steve
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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