The Central California Council of Diving Clubs, Inc. is a recreational diver membership organization and is one of about 15 U.S. dive councils operating under the wing of the USOA. It is a tax exempt, not for profit corporation formed in 1959 and is a charter member of the USOA. Its domain is all of California north of the San Luis Obispo County line and has about 25 dive clubs within it.
Cen-Cal has directorships and committees involved in many facets of diving. It's efforts are directed toward promoting the various underwater interests of its members. It is dedicated to the principles of safety, conservation, access, wise and equitable legislation, underwater sports and furthering knowledge of the marine environment. Cen-Cal members and teams compete in national competitions against other U.S. councils. We meet via teleconference on the last Wednesday of alternate odd-numbered months.
Cen-Cal maintains communications with other California Councils via the CCC (Conference of California Councils). The CCC meets twice yearly via phone conference.
President Jim Kaller email@example.com (415) 362-9134 x12
Vice President: Dennis Belcher firstname.lastname@example.org (925) 335-0965
Secretary: Larry Ankuda email@example.com (408) 378-4963
Treasurer: Carol Rose firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 224-8353
Catch Records: Dennis Belcher
Editor: Carol Rose
Fin Swimming: Mike Gower
Membership: Bob Burres
Photography: Jim Kaller
Scholarship: Jim Kaller
Skin Spearfishing: Dennis Haussler
U/W hockey: Carol Rose
Webmaster: Larry Ankuda
Access is always at the forefront of our vision to ensure that sufficient, safe access points to the ocean continue.
We have fought for divers' right of way to Cannery Row, Monastery Beach, and 17 Mile Drive. We argued successfully to maintain parking on the ocean side of Highway 1 at Monastery Beach. When the Monterey Land Use Plan wanted to ban divers from crossing Carmel River Beach from either end we constantly and persistently testified to the Coastal Commission to prevent access restriction. In other testifying with the Coastal Commission we presented usage data and argued to obtain parking and restrooms for divers' use at Stillwater Cove on 17 Mile Drive. We filed successful legal action to prevent closure of Lovers Point Cove in Pacific Grove to divers. We voiced our opinions during the establishment of Marine Life Protected Areas which were required by the Marine Life Protection Act. And we continue to voice the concerns and rights of divers.
The latest rounds with Pebble Beach Company started when photographer Daniel Schwartz wanted to take photos in August, 2015, for the Monterey Shootout. He was blocked from accessing the water, so documented this and worked with the Coastal Commission to verify public rights. In a March, 2016, understanding divers now have six parking spots by the pier in addition to 10 at the hedgerow. For more detail read the 'New Business' section of the July 27, 2016, meeting minutes. These can be accessed via the 'Minutes' link above. You may also view Daniel's photo work at Seawindows.
Conservation is a major area of interest for Cen-Cal.
Abalone harvesting regulations are at the top of the list. We collected thousands of signatures opposing a commercial abalone fishery on the north coast and a law providing for that was passed. We promoted an annual abalone punch card for harvesters, to provide funds for enforcement and research on abalone. This came to fruition in 1997 with the passage of SB 463 which provided for the Abalone Stamp, closed recreational and commercial abalone harvesting south of the Golden Gate Bridge and funded for the recovery of the abalone resource.
We work closely with governmental groups (DF&W, CA Parks and Recreation), private conservation and sporting groups (SCAN), and we hold a seat on the Recreational Abalone Advisory Council (RAAC).
We argue against commercial drag-netting of the bottom as a method of fishing. We provided expertise at meetings to change this 'experimental' fishery, which was demolishing the population of halibut, tearing up the bottom, and wasting incredible amounts of 'incidental catch'. We worked for the Prop 132 Reserve Initiative banning inshore gill nets in Southern California and provided for 4 reserves which will have conservation impact with little impact on recreational diving.
Scholarship is promoted in the form of a $1000 annual award by Cen-Cal to students in marine sciences. See the 'Scholarship' link above for more information.
Safety and Training are of paramount importance to us. We attack this via legislation (safe access points, diver down flag usage, commercial vs. sport laws and education to increase awareness of the dangers inherent in our activities. We argued to ban or limit the use of fishing methods such as long-lining and "tree" fishing.
Sport Enhancement benefits individuals in their sports.
Dennis Haussler, ex-freediving chairman and longtime spearfisherman, has proposed to the F&G Commission that spearfishing rules be the same as bow and arrow regulations. The Commission is expected to recommend this to the F&W Department in 2017 for placement in 2018. This will allow divers to take more 'trash' fish and do it year round.
In 2008 freediver Dennis Haussler approached the F&G Commission about changing striped bass take regulations and allow spearfishing. His argument was that bow and arrow fishers were allowed to take stripers in freshwater, so why not divers? This was subsequently allowed.
Cen-Cal member Randy Fry liased with CA DFW to keep the rockfish fishery open to divers year-round when it was closed to hook and line fishers to protect just 3 species (Cowcod, Canary, and Yelloweye rockfish), arguing that divers have 100% visual identification of their prey. Nor-Cal Skin Divers' website has a testimonial to Randy at Remembrance.
Cen-Cal worked with two other California dive councils to benefit divers by having the sport lobster season open earlier than the commercial season.
Underwater Sports promotion is the major reason that Cen-Cal, USOA, and CMAS exist. These organizations sanction local, regional, and national competitions in fin swimming, hockey, photography, rugby, and skin diving (spearfishing). See the 'Sports' link above for more information.
Insurance to indemnify and allow our sports to proceed is available at a reasonable cost through Cen-Cal/USOA.
The national organization representing underwater sports in the U.S. is the Underwater Society of America. It was formed in 1959 and incorporated in Maryland and operates under the auspices of CMAS. It has a Board of Governors, which include USOA officers and representatives from each recognized dive club/council, which meet annually. The USOA sends individuals and teams to international competitions and it is also a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and is the sanctioning body for underwater sports in the country. Click on its logo above to go there.
After organizational meetings representatives from eleven countries formed the Confederation Mondiale de Activites Subaquatiques, otherwise known as CMAS or the World Underwater Federation. CMAS is dedicated to sports, technical/scuba training, and scientific pursuits in the underwater world. It is headquartered in Rome. Click on the above logo to go there.