External Affairs Committee Report – May 2016


ADPA was invited by Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators (AALSO) to speak at their annual conference in Denver (Loveland), Colorado – April 2016. With more than 300 attendees, the AALSO symposium was an excellent event giving hands-on workshops in multiple meeting rooms working with different parts of a 4000 gallon operating system, a vendor showcase, and a large banquet room. The ADPA talk was one of two dive presentations; both summarized below, and were well received by attendees.

Descriptions from AALSO Symposium listing:

Occupational Diving in Zoo & Aquarium Industry

There is a wide array of dive tasks needed to support the habitats and exhibits at our facilities. Inspecting intake pipes, maintaining backup systems, cleaning exhibits, and much more. This presentation will include a general overview of current industry example dive practices and considerations on how Life Support and Dive Operations work together. A discussion with Q & A will ensue.

Evaluating The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium’s Dive Program and the Process of Becoming a Commercial Dive Team
MARISA FOSTER – National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, 350 E 3rd St, Dubuque, IA 52001

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium’s largest exhibits are the 30,000 gallon freshwater system called the Main Channel and a 45,000 gallon salt water system called the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the size of these exhibits our team of aquarists dives regularly to maintain habitats, observe animals, and clean systems. We, as well as many other aquariums, have struggled with the concept of commercial dive programs vs. scientific dive programs. It can be extremely difficult to determine which program your facility falls under due to the nature of caring for animals in a captive setting. During recent years, our aquarium has taken several steps to determine which dive program we fall under and have made sure that we are in accordance with OSHA regulations. The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium has determined that its dive program is considered to be more of a commercial dive program rather than a scientific dive program as we do not record any data after each dive unless we note something out of the ordinary. This presentation will focus on the differences between commercial dive programs and scientific dive programs and the steps our aquarium took to ensure that we hold the highest safety protocols for our dive team.

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