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Dave Benet
Science and Policy Analyst

    About Dave

    Dave Benet is the Diving Safety Officer at the University of California Santa Cruz and currently serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. For the last 20 years, his career has focused on the use of SCUBA and small vessels as tools to support scientific research. This work has been integral to several long-term, large-scale kelp forest monitoring programs being used to help evaluate these ecosystems and study the effects of California’s MPAs.


    Dave Benet grew up in the SF bay area surfing and fishing with his father. At age 18, he moved to Santa Cruz where he became involved with the scientific diving program at UCSC while learning to spearfish and freedive for abalone in Northern CA. He earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz, studying kelp forest ecology and fisheries biology. Between 2004 and 2009, he led a team of research technicians surveying kelp forest ecosystems throughout Oregon, CA and Baja in support of the MLPA baseline monitoring effort and other MPA studies. He parlayed this experience into becoming a dive instructor and obtained his USCG 100-ton Captain’s license. He has worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service, CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response, National Marine Sanctuaries and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. 


    Dave holds an academic appointment with the Biology Department at UCSC where he has taught the Scientific Diving course for the past 15 years, helping young scientists develop meaningful and lasting relationships with the ocean through direct, first-hand observation and experience. He hopes to continue inspiring the next generation of ocean stewardship, leading by example at the intersection of conservation and sustainable fishing practices. Dave is a proud father of two young children and remains an avid surfer, spear fisherman and recreational angler. 

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