DEMA Speaks Out About Diver's Rights | Sport Diver

DEMA Speaks Out About Diver's Rights

The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), along with several other dive industry organizations, are currently fighting a very important battle for divers' rights, a battle we're sure we can win with your help. As you may already know, this summer has brought about several misconceptions regarding sharks and their behavior. In particular, we are concerned about a government agency's perception that divers are responsible for the recent shark attacks in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) has proposed a rule that bans scuba divers and snorkelers from feeding marine life in the state of Florida, as a precautionary measure against shark attacks. This rule specifically singles out divers and snorkelers and clearly indicates that divers are to blame for shark attacks, when in fact other near-shore activities (such as fishing, chumming and surfing) should be taken into consideration as possible factors. There is no proven scientific evidence that marine life feeding dives are the cause of shark attacks, and it would be wrong for the FWCC to pass a rule that is not backed by facts. DEMA has teamed up with select members of the dive community, well-known marine biologists and scientists who specialize in shark behavior to spearhead a campaign that shows the public and the FWCC that passing this ban would be wrong, and violates divers' rights. If the ban is passed, the dive industry will suffer consequences, including a possible decline in business as a result of divers not being able to experience interactive marine life feeding dives. More importantly, it would set a precedent for future regulation of our industry. A critical element of our campaign is a rally we are organizing on November 1, 2001 in Key Largo, FL. On this day in Key Largo, the FWCC will allow the public to share their concerns regarding this issue before they vote on the proposed ruling. In conjunction with the rally we are hosting a Halloween Bash at Gilbert's Resort in Key Largo on October 31st, to thank the hundreds of divers who have put in countless hours of work to support our cause. We're also organizing fun contests that will allow these divers to win some great prizes, which is why we need your help in providing prize items, including: dive gear, equipment and international dive trips. In exchange we'd be happy to post your logo and a link to your site on www.welovesharks.com. With your help we can show the FWCC that marine life feeding dives are extraordinary learning experiences that should not be banned. Please let me know if you're interested in helping us with our cause. Feel free to give me a call at (858) 616-6408 if you have any questions. Michelle Metter,Marketing Director, DEMA

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