This was a good week for Diving the Water Column.
First off, The SCUBA diving market show Beneath the Sea was in town, at the Meadowlands Expo Center in New Jersey. I headed over on Sunday and met up with my good buddies from Ocean Horizons Scuba in Brooklyn, NY, to take a look around.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) kindly offered members discounted admission to BtS (thank you, DAN), and the show was jammed with dive travel information, dive gear to sample, and many other scuba-related products and services.
I was happy to speak to some reps from various companies I admire, from the wonderful DAN to enthusiastic and serious instructors from NAUI, product reps from Sherwood, Aqualung and Cressi, among others, and our awesome travel friends from Casa del Mar in Cozumel (see my previous post), Sam’s Tours in Palau (also mentioned here, previously), Palau Dive Adventures, and many others.
Oh, and the Sea Shepherds, too. One out of three of their booth staff was friendly and informative when I stopped by…and I appreciated her conversation very much. But then big news hit the very next day, too: congratulations to the Sea Shepherds for their part in the ongoing struggle toward the banning of Japanese whaling in the Antarctic! Fantastic news.
Monday night, it was on to a sharp panel discussion from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in NYC, called “Saving the Last of the Wild: Protecting our Oceans.”
The event was short and focused on raising money from the various patrons in the audience, and the panel of speakers was really impressive: Caleb McClennen, Executive Director of the Global Marine Program for WCS; Alisa “Harley” Newton, Senior Pathologist for WCS Zoological Health Programs; and Tim McClanahan, a Senior Conservation Zoologist who runs the WCS Coral Reef Programs in Kenya.
Each gave a good talk on his/her specialty area, and tried hard to offer a fair amount of hope regarding what are generally very troubling topics: Ocean acidification, coral extinction risks, coral and sea star diseases, and fisheries management.
So…what’s the upshot from the week? After browsing Beneath the Sea, and listening to the experts, I think it’s pretty much the same drill, at least for myself:
Keep at reducing our carbon footprints, try to contribute to organizations that fight for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and to lessen over fishing and by-catch waste, download (if you haven’t) – and actually USE – the very cool Seafood Watch app to avoid consuming endangered fish species, and for crying out loud, stop with the plastic bags and excess disposable plastic crap.
Oh, and…get scuba diving, ASAP, of course. I know I’m counting the days.