Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Public Policy Alert - Proposed Ban on Spearfishing in Southeast Florida

Your comments on a Proposed Ban on Spearfishing in Southeast Florida While Using Scuba are URGENTLY NEEDED.

DEMA requests all members of the Florida diving community submit written comments to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection BEFORE FEBRUARY 16, 2016 on a proposed ban on spear fishing while using scuba in the SE Florida counties of Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin.

DEMA is concerned that this ban is being proposed WITHOUT scientific data that indicate such a ban is warranted.  Further, DEMA is concerned that these proposed restrictions are aimed solely at DIVING, and EXCLUDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING, both of which have a much greater impact on fish populations than spearfishing while on scuba.


It is important to note that DEMA supports conservation of fish species when scientific research indicates the need to do so.  However, we also believe that when science calls for such harvest restrictions, ALL means of harvest should be subject to those restrictions, including recreational fishing and commercial fishing.  This proposed ban is focused SOLELY on spear fishing while using scuba, and excludes any mention of limitations on hook-and-line recreational fishing or commercial fishing.


1.      THIS ACTION IS BEING PROPOSED WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC DATA TO SUPPORT SUCH A BAN.  Although theRecommended Management Action  (RMA) cites many publications to support its proposal for banning spearfishing on scuba, the RMA also acknowledges that there are “Information Gaps.”  Specifically the RMA states that, “The relative number of fish taken by spear versus angling is unknown, as is the total magnitude of fish taken by spear.  It is a cryptic fishery.”

2.      ANY BAN ON SPEAR FISHING MUST ALSO INCLUDE SIMILAR RESTRICTIONS ON COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL FISHING.  Florida already has many fishing regulations in place which regulate seasonality as well as size and quantity limits, which appropriately impact all forms of fishing; commercial fishing, recreational fishing AND spearfishing.  Absent ANY DATA that specifically points to spearfishing as having a greater impact on supposedly “highly targeted species,” DEMA contends that these current limits and laws are adequate to prevent any “targeting of commercially valuable and ecologically important ‘trophy’ fish.”  Further, if additional regulations are needed for spearfishing on scuba, surely these same restrictions are warranted for ALL forms of extraction, including commercial fishing and hook-and-line recreational fishing.

FOR THE REASONS STATED, DEMA OPPOSES THIS PROPOSED BAN.  Should such a ban be enacted, there is significant risk that similar bans could be proposed in other Florida counties.  It is therefore important for ALL Florida dive businesses to participate in this comment period.

Our Florida Reefs will hold a series of community meetings around South Florida between now and February 17 to discuss this and other proposed regulations.  DEMA urges members of the diving community to attend these meetings and voice your opposition to this proposed ban, which unfairly singles out the diving community.  Two meetings will be held on each of the scheduled days, the first from noon to 2 p.m. and the second from 6 to 8 p.m. Meetings are being held in Broward, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Delray, and Fort Lauderdale. 


Your written comments should include:
·        Your business location.
·        The amount of revenue generated by this activity and the losses if this ban is put into place.
·        Emphasis about the lack of data to support such a highly focused ban on this activity.
·        Concerns about singling out spear fishing on scuba without consideration for similar limitations being placed on commercial and recreational fishing.

Finally, OFR is also proposing many other actions that will impact the diving business in Florida.  With theseadditional proposals already under consideration, please be prepared to comment on them in writing and during face-to-face meetings.  For example, a proposal is being made to change the limits on the number of lobster taken during Florida lobster mini-season.  In this instance, be prepared to provide comments on the number of divers coming to your business to participate in this activity.

DEMA Board of Directors to Determine the Association’s Goals for 2016

** DEMA Board of Directors to Meet on February 11th and 12th in San Diego, CA**
DEMA’s Board of Directors will meet on February 11th and 12th to strategize the Association’s tasks and goals over the upcoming year that will help grow the Industry and provide added value for DEMA Members. Topics for discussion will include DEMA public policy procedures, consumer research initiatives, the consumerGoDiveNow campaign, 2016 budget review and Committee planning.

Day one of the Board meeting will begin with the election of Board Officers from among the current Board Members. With officers in place for the year, the Board will approve reports from past and completed activities as part of the “consent agenda.”  For February, the consent agenda will include:
  • November 2015 Board Meeting Minutes
  • Committee-Approved DEMA Show Exhibit Space Policies
  • Post DEMA Show 2015 Summary
  • 2015 Year-End Membership Update
  • 2015 Year-End Financial Summary and Manufacturer’s Fund Report
  • Investment and Operational Reserve Report
Following approval of the consent agenda, the Board will review proposed tasks and goals for 2016 including:GoDiveNow, DEMA’s new consumer marketing campaign; consumer research initiatives for 2016; a data collection and recognition program for U.S. retailers; proposed public policy procedures; goals for DEMA Show 2016; and more. Once all other agenda items from day one are addressed, the Board is scheduled to review the 2016 budget.

Day two of the Board of Directors Meeting will commence with the discussion of Committees for 2016. These Committees will begin to outline their objectives and goals for the year. Each Board Member can volunteer to work in various Committees based upon their areas of expertise and interests. Committees are tactical and the goals of Committees include creating new ideas, improving current programs and benefits, clarifying or resolving pending issues, and soliciting feedback from Industry stakeholders.  Within their areas of focus, Committees’ ideas and suggestions are well-researched, strategically-developed, and when ready for further action, proposed to the entire Board for input, further development, and implementation. Additional Committee information is available online.

After final discussion and approval of the budget and programs, the Board of Directors will address any new business and conclude the afternoon of Friday, February 12th. More information on DEMA’s Board of Directors and Bylaws is available on the DEMA website. Complete minutes from past Board of Directors Meetings are available to current DEMA Members from the Member Dashboard of Future 2016 meeting dates will be confirmed during February’s meeting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DEMA Requests Nominees for 2016 Reaching Out Awards

**Deadline to Submit Nomination Form is 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, June 1, 2016**

DEMA is requesting nominations for the prestigious Reaching Out Award. Industry professionals are asked to consider nominating colleagues who have made the most positive contributions to the growth and sustainability of the Diving Industry, going beyond the norm of their day-to-day jobs and reaching out to make a difference for all. Nomination alone for this internationally recognized award is an achievement to be celebrated, and recipients are the true luminaries of the Industry. Acknowledging your colleague’s phenomenal influence on our Industry is a crucial part of carrying their legacy into the future in order to help our Industry grow and thrive.

Since 1989 the Reaching Out Award has been presented to individuals who have advanced the Industry in unique ways, often developing products, programs, services and events that changed diving for the better. Areas of contribution have included equipment design, exploration, photography, publishing, retailing, science, training, travel and water safety. For details about nomination requirements and selection criteria, review the 2016 Reaching Out Award Nomination Form.  All nominees must have been active in the Diving Industry for a minimum of 10 years and made a significant contribution to the sport of scuba diving.

Selected recipients are inducted into the Industry’s Hall of Fame as the leaders and heroes of our sport; the people who have helped make diving what it is today.  DEMA continues to honor recipients each year during the annualDEMA Show, including acknowledgment in the onsite Hall of Fame booth and during the Industry’s premiere networking event, the DEMA Awards Party. Event details for the DEMA Awards Party will be released in the coming months.

Get started on your nominations now!  If you have any questions about submitting a Reaching Out Award nomination contact Joyce Washington at (858) 616-6408 x101 or  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dive Industry Mourns the Loss of Dick Bonin, Former DEMA Executive Director and Industry Icon

** March 24, 1930 – December 8, 2015 **
This past Tuesday, December 8th, the scuba diving world, our oceans and humanity lost a very dear and good friend with the passing of Dick Bonin. 
A resident of Huntington Beach, California for over four decades, it can be said most fundamentally that Dick was a good man who truly cared about others.    Service to others was embedded early on in his nature and even as a scuba equipment manufacturer he led the industry in providing new services to his retail dealers.  A Chicagoan who retained his subtle accent all his life, in high school and college he was an accomplished academic, swimmer and boxer who graduated ‘with honors.’ Receiving an athletic scholarship to college, he went on to graduate cum laude and then entered the United States Navy. He was an accomplished and respected naval officer and gentleman who served his country as a line officer in the 1950’s during and after the Korean War.  Dick was a protégé of the renowned Commander Douglas Fane who had moved from the British Navy to the US Navy in order to start up the famed UDT teams – and the later expansion christened the US Navy SEALs.  Dick had an abiding love for the Navy and all of those who selflessly risked their lives in protecting freedom and serving others.
After his honorable naval service, Dick continued his love of the seas and entered into the scuba industry at its infancy in 1956.  He advanced quickly to build an amazing network of friends who each realized that he had a quiet, quick wit and savvy business acumen. His rise and eventual teaming up as a co-founder of the ScubaPro brand along with fellow dive pioneer Gustav Dalla Valle are truly legend that helped birth the modern sport of recreational scuba.  A humble guy with a self-deprecating humor, Dick routinely joked to his friends that “Gustav got both ScubaPro and me for the sum of one-dollar – and he always said he overpaid!”
Under his management of the ScubaPro brand, the company manufactured and improved many innovations for scuba and recreational diving including a single hose regulator; the Mark 5 flow-through piston regulator; the first buoyancy compensator back vest (BCD); the first pilot-valve second stage regulator; and his ever-popular “Jet Fins” to name but a few.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dick observed that the scuba manufacturers were lost in the crowd at the annual Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association trade show and took action to establish the Underwater Manufacturers Association that later became DEMA. After retiring from ScubaPro, he was called on to serve as a visionary interim executive director of DEMA in the mid-1990s at a critical time when the association began the process of opening its membership to all the various business segments of diving in order to grow scuba. 
Dick’s diving industry awards were many and reputably earned, including the DEMA Reaching Out Award and the NOGI for Distinguished Service.  A pragmatic ocean environmentalist, he was the founder of Ocean Futures Society and an early advocate and promoter of using retired aircraft and ships for placement as artificial reefs in US coastal waters. Dick also lead the dive industry efforts to ban long-line gill net fishing in California and secured the legislation naming the Garibaldi as California’s official marine fish. He was an avid free diver who held the US Navy free diving record for many years and enjoyed ribbing his fellow scuba divers by calling them ‘tankers’ – a very successful spear hunter who seemed to have ’30-minute lungs’ and always came up with his fish.
Yet with all of his many accomplishments, his friends knew well that Dick was most happy and proud of his large family and wonderful wife – he is survived by his wife Celeste, four children, and six grandchildren. A private Catholic mass was held on December 14th.  in lieu of donations in his memory, the family simply asks that everyone dedicate their next dive to Dick Bonin in the deep blue seas he loved so much. DEMA and the dive industry mourn the passing of a great pioneer of diving and express heartfelt gratitude for all he gave to each of us who loves diving. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DEMA Show to Return to Highly Requested Destination

** Third City Will Be Added to the Show Rotation Beginning in 2020 ** 
DEMA is excited to announce that it has successfully secured a DEMA Show destination exhibitors and attendees have been requesting for years … New Orleans, LA! The Show last staged in New Orleans in 2001 and the Show Committee is excited to report that DEMA Show will once again return to the Big Easy from November 4-7, 2020!
For the last several years, DEMA has scouted different convention cities that meet the Board-approved Show location criteria with the goal of adding a third Show venue to the current rotation of Orlando, FL and Las Vegas, NV. Finding cities with convention centers that are sufficiently large, and which meet the many needs of the attendees and exhibitors, is no easy task. When evaluating and selecting destinations, convention facilities and hotels, DEMA uses specific Board-approved criteria. A thorough explanation of the criteria and selection process can be found online here.
Funds raised through DEMA Show (and all events produced by DEMA) are used to help the industry, including monitoring legislation, advocating for environmental issues, promoting recreational diving, keeping dive sites open and accessible to divers, providing DEMA-Member access to benefits and programs and conducting research on behalf of the Industry.  Successful DEMA Shows allow the Association to continue its mission of bringing businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide. 

DEMA's Post-Show Surveys Help Improve DEMA Show for Years to Come

**DEMA Show 2015 Attendees and Exhibitors are Asked to Provide Feedback on Their Show Experience**

Every year, DEMA Show provides numerous opportunities for Attendees and Exhibitors to do great business together by providing hundreds of exhibits, products, services, educational sessions and more. Now, DEMA is asking for DEMA Show Attendees and Exhibitors to provide their feedback and ideas to help take DEMA Show to the next level!
Input from Attendees and Exhibitors is invaluable as it helps the Association create a better Show in the years to come. Past feedback has helped guide the Association when developing seminar content, evaluating speakers, contracting for housing and transportation and even in evaluating future venues and cities. DEMA asks all 2015 Attendees and Exhibitors to complete the Post-DEMA Show Survey via the links below:
DEMA Show 2015 Attendees are invited to provide their feedback on the Show here:
DEMA Show 2015 Exhibitors are also invited to provide their feedback on the Show here:
Deadline to submit your feedback is January 22, 2016 and participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 Starbucks gift card.
As a non-profit organization, DEMA uses the resources generated by DEMA Show to fund research, legislative scanning and advocacy, education and more.  DEMA extends its THANKS to the entire Industry for helping to make DEMA Show a continuing success! DEMA Show will return to Las Vegas, NV in 2016 from November 16-19. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DEMA Thanks the Diving Industry for their Participation in DEMA Show 2015

** Thousands of Industry Professionals from Every Segment of the Diving Industry Come Together at Trade-Only Show to Buy, Learn and Collaborate **
DEMA is pleased to say THANK YOU to the more than 9,000  pre-qualified dive professionals who registered for DEMA Show 2015, and more than 630 exhibiting companies who made DEMA Show successful.  The trade-only Show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL from November 4th to 7th.   
DEMA Show 2015 provided many opportunities for Attendees and Exhibitors to do great business together by providing hundreds of exhibits, products, services, educational sessions and more.  Verified attendance figures, which are obtained from electronic scans of Attendee and Exhibitor badges, confirm that over 8,000 Industry Professionals entered and participated in the Show during its four days. The Show’s long-standing credentialing process established by the Board of Directors, helped confirm that the Show maintained a trade-only atmosphere, welcoming highly qualified Buyers and Influencers.
During the four days of DEMA Show 2015, Exhibitors hosted hundreds of Attendees in their booths to showcase their latest products, programs and services.  DEMA’s video production partner, 506 Studio, has captured the excitement of the action-packed days of DEMA Show 2015 in a series of videos highlighting the Show.  In addition, as a prelude to DEMA’s 40th annual DEMA Show in November of 2016, DEMA asked attendees and exhibitors to “Share Your Story,” including their first job in the industry, how they got started in recreational diving, and who was their mentor.  More than 130 dive industry stories were recorded at DEMA Show 2015 by Attendees and Exhibitors while at the Show.
An exciting announcement made at the Show happened during the Annual Member Meeting, in which Executive Director, Tom Ingram, shared that DEMA Show would be returning to New Orleans, LA in 2020. Attendees also learned about the activities of the Association during 2015 and the goals being set for 2016. Industry Professionals are encouraged to stay informed about the latest research and other benefits from the association via DEMAIL and the DEMA website and social media pages.
DEMA extends its THANKS to the entire Industry for the continuing success of DEMA Show! Looking toward thefuture, DEMA Show will be returning to Las Vegas, NV from November 16-19 in 2016. DEMA continues to look at additional venues for future shows, using key factors of Exhibitor and Attendee cost and venue availability.  A complete overview of how DEMA Show venues are selected is available here.
Funds raised through DEMA Show (and all events produced by DEMA) are used to help the industry, including monitoring legislation, advocating for environmental issues, promoting recreational diving, keeping dive sites open and accessible to divers, providing DEMA-Member access to benefit programs such as health insurance and worker’s compensation insurance, and conducting research on behalf of the Industry.  With this year’s strong DEMA Show participation, DEMA can continue its mission of bringing businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide.