[Coral-List] Goliath Grouper encounters

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 5 15:40:56 EST 2012

     * We should all be spreading the "look don't touch" and "keep wildlife
       wild" messages. Agreed.
     * (Not sure how all the marine scientists who work for aquariums feel
       about the latter directive).
     * In all fairness to Dr. Frias-Torres, sometimes one can be transformed in
       the moment.
     * I was once overcome by the urge to touch when a solitary whale shark
       approached me in the wild.
     * Again when a pod of pseudorcas surrounded me playfully.
     * And then there was that big green moray that darted between my legs.
     * Oh, I can't leave out that octopus that extended his arm as if to . . .
     * There are a number of worse things going on that are actually being
       supported by the scuba diving industry.
     * Dr,  Frias-Torres  does  a  lot of good work in the area of marine
     * I  took her message to be not that it's OK to touch, but that it's
       important to care.

   -----Original Message-----
   >From: sjk012
   >Sent: Nov 4, 2012 11:34 AM
   >To: Sarah Frias-Torres , coral list
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Goliath Grouper encounters
   >Dear Dr. Frias-Torres and Coral-listers,
   >Is this really the message we are wanting to share with the public?? To
   approach and touch wild animals, more shockingly a Critically Threatened
   animal! I am incredibly disappointed that academics and avid divers would
   take part in this action, let alone film such an inappropriate act. And to
   top it off, post it in on a globally accessible site such a youtube.
     * >As conservationist we should be spreading the "look don't touch" and
       "keep wildlife wild" messages. Portraying these animals as gentle giants
       further threatens their population. This video clearly demonstrates that
       touching and approaching wildlife is OK, and it is NOT. While I agree
       this was an amazing opportunity to see these creatures in the wild, the
       continuous  act  of rubbing, touching, and "petting" these fish is

   >Goliath groupers are ambush predators that use powerful suction to draw in
   their pray. This suction is strong enough to pull in a human's arm and their
   sharp rows of teeth can shred that person's hand and arm trying to remove
   it. These divers are very luckly they did not get injured and promoting this
   action with a video threatens other divers and threatens reef fish. Fish
   become stressed when they are touched and the mucus layer, which is the
   first line of defense against disease, is disrupted. It is quite possible
   that this invasive encounter by humans during their spawning period was
   enough to disrupt their activity that night, but the physical touching
   clearly detracted the animals risking the reproductive act and likely caused
   >I highly encourage that this video is removed from youtube and that Dr.
   Frias-torres et al. rethink the messages the video portrays...I don't think
   touching critically endangered animals during spawning, or touching any wild
   animal for that matter, will ever be a good conservation message to share
   with the public.
   >Aquatic and Conservation Biologist
   >From: Sarah Frias-Torres [sfrias_torres at hotmail.com]
   >Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 12:42 PM
   >To: coral list
   >Subject: [Coral-List] Goliath Grouper encounters
   >Dear coral-listers
   >Just wanted to share some extraordinary encounters with a charismatic coral
   reef fish we almost lost to extinction: the goliath grouper.
   >We dove a wreck at night, in southeast Florida during this year's spawning
   aggregation season. We were fortunate to have a couple of filmmakers on
   board who produced this video, including the text provided in You Tube.
   >The 6.5 minute video is not addressed to scientists but to the SCUBA diving
   community. An example of reaching out beyond academic research.
   >I'm the diver with a yellow bandana around minute 5.
   >You can learn more about goliath groupers in my recent paper
   >Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Independent ScientistTwitter: @GrouperDocBlog:
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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