divers and fish

tim ecott timecott at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 31 10:32:44 EST 2001

Coral Listers,
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

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp

For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
digests, please visit www.coral.noaa.gov, click on Popular on the
menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list