divers and fish
timecott at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 31 10:32:44 EST 2001
Mel Keys makes a good point, and needlessly apologises for presenting
anecdotal evidence about fish behaviour in response to diver activity. I
make the point in my book ('Neutral Buoyancy; Adventures in a Liquid World')
that I am constantly amazed by diver attitudes to
(a) coral damage - not just immediate physical impact, but a general lack of
awareness of what coral ecology is all about and how anthropogenic activity
on a wider scale affects the reef
(b) fish, crustacea, mollusca etc - why do divers so readily tuck in to
things like 'conch' in the Caribbean an hour after surfacing from a dive, or
happily chow down on 'coral trout'/ grouper while lamenting the presence of
large species at dive sites?
On a wider level - when will divers start voting with their feet/fins and
start boycotting destinations where poor reef management is evident. It's
not good assuming that 'protected area' means that destructive fishing
practices are banned.
There is ample evidence that coral health and responsible diving can
co-exist - let's stop wasting time arguing about whether divers scare fish
away. Without recreational divers the academic community has NO hope of
spreading the word about the plight of the world's reefs. It was noted in
the South of France in the 1930's that fish a hundred yards away from where
spear fishermen hunted were totally unaffected by divers while those where
the spearers dived exhibited clear 'recognition' of men acting as predators.
Fish are not as stupid as we persist in thinking.
tel (44) 208 607 9436
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