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Diver Education Programs Memo

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
299 Foam Street, Suite D.
Monterey, CA 93940
(408) 647-4201

December 15, 1998


Dear Director of Diver Education Programs (see list below):

As you know, Monterey Bay is one of the premier dive destinations on the West Coast of the United States. The plant and animal life in the kelp forests bordering the Monterey Peninsula are unparalleled compared to other temperate marine habitats of the world. For this and other reasons, the coastal area from San Francisco to Cambria was designated as the nation's largest marine protected area, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Also, there are many other Federal, State and local agencies who are charged with protecting these valuable marine resources. Peninsula cities feature kelp forests and marine life as a principal attraction for visitors to our area. Local and regional diving industries thrive because kelp forests provide exceptional diving opportunities for beginning and veteran divers alike.

Last year, the Monterey Bay NMS funded a small-scale research project to assess the effects, if any, of scuba divers in kelp beds. The report, titled: Diver Disturbance in Kelp Forests (January 30, 1998) by T. N. Schaeffer and M. S. Foster of the Coastal Solutions Group, was then referred to the Sanctuary's Research Activities Panel (RAP). The RAP submitted its review of the report to the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC), an advisory group to the Sanctuary Superintendent comprised of community leaders including a representative for the diving community. The report is included in Mr. Douros' March 9, 1998 memorandum, explaining the report (Attachment A); we also included the RAP's August 24, 1998 letter to the SAC for your review (Attachment B).

The SAC discussed the RAP's recommendations at its October 2, 1998 meeting and determined that the results of the report by Schaeffer and Foster (1998) provide important positive messages about how the Sanctuary can work with the recreational diving community to protect nearshore resources, especially the kelp forests of the Monterey Peninsula. The SAC, by unanimous vote, asked the Sanctuary Superintendent and the recreational diving industry, including national, regional and local dive organizations and dive stores, to work closely to implement the RAP's following three recommendations:

1. Develop guidelines to minimize the impacts of scuba diving activity on kelp forest communities.

2. Place signs at key diver entry and exit points that summarize the scuba diving guidelines.

3. More broadly, develop diver management guidelines for marine protected areas.

While comments you might have on the Schaeffer and Foster (1998) report are welcome, we are eager to move forward on the RAP's recommendations for diver education. I believe that diver education is the best means to address the issues raised in the report. If you are interested in helping to develop a diver education and awareness program with the Sanctuary, please contact Patrick Cotter at (831) 647-4252 at our office who will coordinate our efforts on this project.

The SAC and the Sanctuary view the recreational diving industry as a major ally in promoting the goals of the Sanctuary program, protecting kelp forest resources, and educating divers about the best way for them to visit marine ecosystems with the least amount of impact. We will concentrate on the Monterey Peninsula region as a pilot project, and if successful, we intend to expand the education efforts to the entire Sanctuary. Thank you in advance for your interest in this effort and support for the Sanctuary program.



William J Douros Superintendent



Hon. Dan Albert, City of Monterey
Hon. Sandy Koffman, City of Pacific Grove
Members of Monterey Bay NMS Advisory Council

Sent to:

Diver Education Programs
1251 East Dyer Road, #100
Santa Ana, California 92705

Diver Education Programs
NAUI Worldwide
9942 Currie Davis Drive, Suite H
Tampa. Florida, 33619

Diver Education Programs
Scuba Schools International (SSI)
2619 Canton Court
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525

Diver Education Programs
YMCA Scuba Program
5825-2A Live Oak Parkway
Norcross, Georgia 30093-1728

Diver Education Programs
1012 South Yates
Memphis, Tennessee 38119

Diver Education Programs
Diving Equipment & Marketing Association
2050 Santa Cruz Street, Suite 1000
Anaheim, California 92805-6816

Diver Education Programs
CenCal Diving Clubs
PO Box 779
Daly City, California 94017


Reviewed: September 08, 2023
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