blackband, $1 million fish

Alice Fenner 110115.311 at
Tue Jul 15 13:12:17 EDT 1997

 Black Band Disease, $1 million fish, reserve update

1. Black band disease was observed at Danjugan Island off 
the west coast of Negros Island, central Philippines on May 30, 1997.  I
observed about a dozen colonies of Pachyseris foliosa at 15 m depth with
the disease, with healthy brown areas and a 1-cm wide black band bordering
white newly-dead skeleton.  It looked identical to black band in the

2. A $1 million dollar fish is the hypothetical product of sample
calculations of the income of a dive operation with a particularly large
and famous fish as it's star attraction.  Such a dive service could charge
US$50 per person per day (or more).  If it could attract just 10 divers per
day that would be $500 per day, for $182,500 per year.  Figure an equal
amount for food and lodging for $365,000.  In 3 years (much less than the
fish's life span) that is $1,095,000- much more than the $10,000 it might
bring in Hong Kong or Taiwan restaurant.
    There are many caveats to such a scenario- will just one fish (famous
or not) attract that many divers every day, will the fish stay put, can the
fish be defended, will divers wreck its reef, etc.  But the point is that
as much as the live food fish trade may value this fish, it can be worth
more alive as a tourist attraction for divers.  This is largely because
diving can be a sustainable use.

3. Regarding my Feb 3 message about reserves in Negros Oriental,
Philippines, I would like to make a couple of corrections: in some areas of
the province, poison fishing (mostly the root Tubli but also cyanide) is
still common.  Credits for the work on reserves there should go to the
Resource (not Research) Management Division, directed by Mercy Teves. 
Their work on reserves has been supported by the German Development Service
for 5 years in the person of Maike Waltemath; Cemrino was a more recent
addition.  Destructive fishing remains epidemic in many parts of the
country.  For example, Apo Reef near Mindoro (not Apo Island near Negros)
is said to have been largely destroyed by blast fishing.  -Doug Fenner   

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