The Good:Last week Bruce and I attended the DEMA (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) trade show in Las Vegas. We divided our time between walking the show, visiting friends and vendors, and taking care of our booth in the Micronesia section. It was a very successful show, perhaps reflecting the up-swing in the US economy.
The DEMA show is the primary “trade only” diving show in the US and is an excellent venue for reconnecting with old friends and making new contacts.
One of the great new contacts we made was with Our World – Underworld Scholarship Society. For more than 35 years this group has selected three young scholars (from the US, Europe and Australia) who wish to pursue careers in the underwater world. They have an opportunity to participate in many different underwater projects with hosts around the world. These young people are some of the future leaders in the underwater world (or any field that they eventually choose). We were impressed and excited about the Our World – Underworld Scholarship program and the amazing opportunity for the scholars to get a very wide exposure to many fascinating and important programs. We volunteered to host a scholar who can participate in the 2011 Kosrae Village coral monitoring and reef protection programs and hopefully into the future.
Well, there really wasn’t any, although some of the concession stand food was just a little scary.
The UGLY:We stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton, the host hotel. On the last day of the show, we learned that one of the Hilton restaurants, the Garden of the Dragon was serving shark fins. We (the others that we spoke with at the show) were shocked that any restaurant in the US would be offering shark fin dishes.
Shark finning is a wasteful and cruel fishing method that has been condemned by environmental and diving organizations world wide.
The DEMA board released this statement:
It has been brought to the attention of the DEMA Board of Directors that certain restaurants in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, host hotel for this year’s DEMA Show 2010, feature shark fin soup on their menus. DEMA joins the entire diving industry in its condemnation of the practice of shark finning.
There are many criteria taken into consideration when selecting hotels for the DEMA hotel block and heretofore restaurant menu selections have not been part of the decision making process. Going forward, DEMA will commit to using our business influence to change this item if it appears on menus in restaurants associated with future DEMA Show convention facilities.
Bruce and I will not be staying at any Hilton hotel in the future and we strongly encourage all of our friends and family to avoid staying at these hotels as well.