“Sea Turtles don’t dwell in desserts. So why are you here?” – A comment the conservation and marketing team heard routinely throughout their time at the 2016 Dive Equipment and Marketing Association show (DEMA). Our fellow attendees had a point, sea turtles reside a long way from Nevada, so why did we travel to Las Vegas for this show? DEMA attracts dive operators and ocean enthusiasts from all over the world – an opportunity our conservation team could not pass up.
In 2016, Loggerhead Marinelife Center officially launched the sea turtle-safe diving component of Project SHIELD, which is a program designed to offer viable conservation solutions and pollution prevention projects to fishing piers, recreational boaters, beach-side hotels, snorkel and SCUBA operators, fishing charter operators, and beach access points. At the show, our team searched for dive operators to partner with on our sea turtle-safe diving initiative. This initiative asks dive operators to follow a set of guidelines, including staying a safe distance from sea turtles, and teach their students or guests how to create a safer experience for sea turtles and divers. In addition, our team provided a pledge wall for attendees to pledge to live out a “blue” lifestyle of ocean conservation. Several attendees posed with signs pledging to go #PlasticFreeWithLMC and spread their own conservation ideas.
After a long week at DEMA, our team left having met ocean enthusiasts from all over the world and establishing several new partnerships. For more information on becoming a Project SHIELD partner, please contact Tommy Cutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.