[Coral-List] NGOs, Corals and Dive Industry

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 27 10:24:11 EST 2013

   It is in fact true that the criticisms of the diving industry raised here
   are out of proportion with their level of responsibility for the overall
   decline of coral reef ecosystems. Justification for my own contribution to
   the disproportionate barrage is that I am part of this industry and by
   virtue of it's obvious connection with the underwater world, I would expect
   diving to  be at  the forefront of any and all attempts to reverse the
   downward  trend. Instead, if not indifferent I would characterized the
   industry's  reaction to the impending crisis as imprudent and woefully
   inadequate. I am not optimistic that the challenges confronting coral reefs
   (and societies in general) from various forms of pollution, climate change,
   over-fishing and ocean acidification will ever be sufficiently remedied. It
   is  the  combination of these factors that makes the diving industry's
   continued  disinterest and passivity most disturbing. If they will not
   react with resolve to the indignities affecting the world's coral reefs,
   then  who will? As Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are upon us and Christmas
   approaches I just want to say that I am inspired by all those dedicated and
   insightful    people    in    and   out   of   the   diving   industry
   who despite this discouraging predicament are continuing to fight the good
   fight.  It is pretty much the only thing left to do and who knows, the
   holidays are supposed to remind us that miracles can happen.


   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Douglas Fenner
   >Sent: Nov 27, 2013 12:25 AM
   >To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] NGOs, Corals and Dive Industry
   >One thing I noticed about the different "green" programs that parts of the
   >diving industry support, is that the actions they mention are all about
   >divers not damaging reefs, resorts not damaging reefs, etc. That's all
   >good and well, but as I stated quite a while ago, that is re-arranging the
   >deck chairs on the Titanic.
   > Divers are a minute fraction of the problem for the world's coral
   >reefs. Yes, they can have an impact on small areas that are heavily used
   >by divers, and those are areas that are important for the dive industry.
   >So sure, it is good to encourage divers to do less damage to the reefs they
   >commonly dive.
   > But that won't save the world's reefs, and it will only have a tiny
   >positive effect on the world's reefs. Meanwhile, climate change and
   >acidification are coming faster than ever, as the world burns even more
   >fossil fuels than the highest projections from not long ago. If something
   >doesn't start changing, kiss coral reefs as we know them, dominated by
   >coral that is critical to the framework building of coral reefs and to the
   >ecological community.
   > For me, the question is not whether the dive industry has segments that
   >have good will and are trying to promote less impact by divers, resorts,
   >etc. The question is the silence on the issues that will end coral reefs
   >as we know them, the silence on climate change and acidification.
   > What we need is the dive industry to speak out clearly and forcefully
   >on the issue that will have the greatest impact on coral reefs in the
   >future, and have a great impact on their industry.
   >Cheers, Doug
   >On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 1:49 PM, Steve Mussman wrote:
   >> Dear Ed,
   >> Probably the best example right now is the National Ocean Policy, an
   >> executive order that is being characterized by special interest
   >> groups as yet another example of over-regulation by the federal
   >> government.
   >> Interestingly enough virtually every ocean conservation organization in
   >> the
   >> U.S. supports the initiative and it has been endorsed by many marine
   >> scientists including a number of subscribers to this list. DEMA is
   >> unfortunately aligned with the opposition who are led by the National
   >> Ocean
   >> Policy Coalition. I've already posted a link to this coalition's
   >> membership,
   >> but here it is again. [1]http://oceanpolicy.com/members/ If you are
   >> interested in hearing the executive director of the coalition explain
   >> the
   >> rationale for opposing the NOP, you can find it
   >> here: [2]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22LmYostJJ4 The
   >> coalition involves many interests who should be heard and they have
   >> every
   >> right to exert their political power in opposition if they somehow feel
   >> threatened. The question is why does DEMA feel that it has more in
   >> common
   >> with this coalition than with the multitude of ocean conservation groups
   >> backing the policy's full implementation? As for why divers have not
   >> been
   >> more involved is a good question, but most don't keep up with these
   >> things
   >> and DEMA likely prefers it that way. Unfortunately this issue is like so
   >> many others in that it reflects the political polarization that exists
   >> in
   >> Washington today. The fact that President Obama issued an executive
   >> order
   >> and that federal regulation is involved is enough to create instant
   >> partisan
   >> opposition. I found this list of the Obama administration's nine
   >> priority
   >> objectives for the National Ocean Policy on the website of the
   >> initiative's
   >> opposition.
   >> [3]
   >> ectives-for-the-national-ocean-policy/
   >> Maybe you can tell me why the diving industry would oppose it's
   >> enactment. As one of the more respected members of this list is quoted
   >> as
   >> saying "The whole concept of national ocean policy is to maximize the
   >> benefit and minimize the damage. What's not to love?"
   >> Regards,
   >> Steve
   >> ---Original Message-----
   >> From: Ed Blume
   >> Sent: Nov 24, 2013 4:58 PM
   >> To: Steve Mussman
   >> Cc: Eugene Shinn , "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] NGOs, Corals and Dive Industry
   >> Is a policy or bill pending that DEMA opposes or should support? Rather
   >> than try to make broad changes in DEMA policy statements or general
   >> behavior, could divers be mobilized to influence passage or defeat of a
   >> particular piece of policy? If divers can show that they have policy
   >> power, DEMA may pay more attention to them.
   >> Ed Blume
   >> Energy Consulting Network
   >> facebook.com/EnergyEfficiencyInWisconsin
   >> 608-225-6591
   >> On Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM, Steve Mussman wrote:
   >> >
   >> > Dear Gene,
   >> > This thread which your remarks helped to prolong is not so much an
   >> > indictment of DEMA as it is a call
   >> > for the organization that speaks for the diving industry to
   >> re-evaluate
   >> > it's
   >> > platform and approach to the broad
   >> > array of issues affecting coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. It
   >> is
   >> > understandable that representatives
   >> > of this industry's international marketing organization would focus on
   >> > promoting and growing successful
   >> > consumer-oriented businesses. But part of their mandate is to
   >> represent
   >> > all
   >> > of their constituent groups and
   >> > that includes a growing number of divers and diving-related businesses
   >> > who
   >> > value and prioritize conservation and
   >> > sustainability. DEMA's mission statement is quite clear in describing
   >> > it's
   >> > central objective:To promote sustainable
   >> > growth in safe recreational diving and snorkeling while protecting the
   >> > underwater environment. We don't want
   >> > equipment manufacturers, resorts and dive shops to be concerned about
   >> > "looking green". We want them to explore
   >> > new ways of ensuring sustainable growth for both their business models
   >> > and
   >> > the marine ecosystems on which
   >> > their enterprises depend. These goals are not mutually exclusive and
   >> > many
   >> > believe they deserve more equitable
   >> > and balanced consideration. I would go as far as to suggest that of
   >> > DEMA's
   >> > five main goals the one that claims
   >> > it is among their objectives "to conserve and protect natural aquatic
   >> > resources" has been consigned to a position
   >> > of relative obscurity. I would further assert that until we become
   >> more
   >> > conscientious stewards of the blue by restoring
   >> > the ocean's rightful position at the table, it will be with
   >> considerable
   >> > irony that the desirable and appropriate
   >> > aspirations relating to business success will prove increasingly
   >> > difficult
   >> > for members of our industry to attain.
   >> > Warm regards,
   >> > Steve
   >> > No Coral, No Ecosystem, No Dive Industry
   >> > -----Original Message-----
   >> > >From: Eugene Shinn
   >> > >Sent: Nov 22, 2013 12:57 PM
   >> > >To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >> > >Subject: [Coral-List] NGOs, Corals and Dive Industry
   >> > >
   >> > >I am a little surprise that this anti DEMA thread has lasted this
   >> long.
   >> > >Does not DEMA represent the diving equipment manufacturers? Is
   >> selling
   >> > >more equipment in their best interests? Is it not likely that this
   >> bill
   >> > >everyone is citing might lead to closing more areas to diving? And,
   >> > >might this action lead to less equipment sales? I suspect most of you
   >> > >have heard that part of the reef problem (other than the usual
   >> > suspects)
   >> > >is divers 1) touching coral, 2) divers urinating, 3) sunscreen
   >> causing
   >> > >bleaching, 4) divers turning over corals in search of lobster etc.
   >> etc.
   >> > >Those could be cited as reasons to close diving in certain areas. One
   >> > >can envision the leaders of these companies sitting around pondering
   >> > how
   >> > >to look green and at the same time keep selling the latest model
   >> > >regulators etc. Just be careful about what you wish for. You just
   >> might
   >> > >eventually be hearing something like, "If you like your old dive
   >> > >equipment you can keep it." Gene
   >> > >
   >> > >--
   >> > >
   >> > >
   >> > >No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
   >> > >------------------------------------
   >> > -----------------------------------
   >> > >E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
   >> > >University of South Florida
   >> > >College of Marine Science Room 221A
   >> > >140 Seventh Avenue South
   >> > >St. Petersburg, FL 33701
   >> > >
   >> > >Tel 727 553-1158
   >> > >----------------------------------
   >> -----------------------------------
   >> > >
   >> > >_______________________________________________
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   >> >
   >> References
   >> 1. http://oceanpolicy.com/members/
   >> 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22LmYostJJ4
   >> 3.
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