I always enjoy and look forward to reading California Diving News, since it contains useful information and advice of interest on “our” type of diving on the West Coast. I also enjoy your photography and the articles of regional dive sites by yourself, Bruce Watkins and others.

I’d like to point out, however, that on the cover of the December issue the diver appears to be inappropriately handling the sea star, and I’m a bit concerned of what this might convey to new divers.

We all do this from time-to-time, but we, as experienced divers, educators or underwater photographers, are in general aware of the impacts that we may or may not have by doing so.  We understand how to properly place them back where we found the animal, which animals are too delicate to handle, what may stress the animal, and when NOT to handle them, etc. New or less-experienced divers have not typically yet learned these things, however, and— without other “coaching”— often feel free to handle, move, or otherwise harass animals without realizing the impact that they might be having. I try to teach new divers to respect marine life and when or how it may be appropriate interact with marine life.

In the future please try to address this issue when such a nice image needs to be taken or used— particularly for the benefit of new divers. This is a good opportunity for training and education.

Thanks again for a great magazine.
Alan Throop
via e-mail