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Picking up rocks and combing through seaweed?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by dianna912, May 2, 2021.

  1. Hippocampus01

    Hippocampus01 Registered

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Cyprus
    36
    21
    I know I am going to get shot down in flames here...
    The worst damage to reefs and harassment of wild life I see on dives is caused by photographers. Otherwise good and considerate divers kicking off a piece of table coral trying to get the hundredth shot of a wobbegong that day, shining huge lights at night creatures with highly sensitive eyes for an excessive amount of time, cornering turtles to get another hundred pictures of it’s head when it may well need a breath, fins planted in the reef so as not to miss an opportunity for a good shot in current.... the list is endless. Don’t mention what pigmy seahorses suffer. It was better in the pre-digital times, when they had to pay for film development it was just a couple of shots then move on.
    I can understand the achievement of taking a really good picture, but not why recreational divers spend a fortune on heavy and elaborate equipment, drag it half way round the world, spend a lot of their surface time fiddling with it, and miss so much of the diving experience taking shots of animals that they have already photographed 1000 times already. Somebody has always done it better, why not save yourself the hassle, enjoy a relaxed dive and download a few pics from the web.
    My gently lifting a rock or sea cucumber with a pointer, to take a quick look underneath,and leaving it in exactly the same place, causes no harm whatsoever.
     
    scrane, Julius SCHMIDT, Ana and 5 others like this.
  2. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    10,121
    6,865
    Pointing out inconsistencies in the argument doesn't help solve the problem. It sounds like the old argument by people resistant to recycling: "Why should I recycle this one aluminum can--it's a drop in a bucket." As I mentioned upthread when someone said pretty much the same thing you did, we should consider that it's not EITHER that someone flies to the other side of the world and trashes the environment OR they pick up a starfish but rather that BOTH may happen on the same trip, and there are thousands of divers doing trips like that. The FIRST thing a person who flew to the other side of the world to dive should do is NOT pick up the starfish and discourage DM's from doing that kind of thing. They might also choose an eco-friendly resort--voting with their wallets--over one that flushes sewage improperly. There are things every one of us can do, even if some divers continue to fly to the other side of the world to dive.
     
    StefinSB and OTF like this.
  3. Hippocampus01

    Hippocampus01 Registered

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Cyprus
    36
    21
    There are positives to flying round the world to dive. There are marine reserves and protected areas that would have been dynamited into rubble, it provides an income and alternative to the above for communities in remote areas, and creates an interest in, an awareness of and a sense of responsibility for our oceans in individuals of cultures that traditionally have no respect for them.
     
    chillyinCanada and drk5036 like this.
  4. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California
    4,617
    5,219
    My point was that too much emphasis is put on relatively benign things like picking up starfishes. Gently picking up a starfish is most likely not going to damage it where it dies. Not that picking up starfishes is encouraged and it’s OK to do that, I ‘m just saying that the hostility is a little misdirected when all you have to do is think about what it took to get half way across the world to the starfish. How much impact did that the trip have globally to go see the starfish?. And that is damaging, way more than touching a starfish.
    Divers with poor buoyancy skills will cause hundreds more times damage than someone picking up a starfish. I didn’t say smashing the starfish.
    But you’re right, both are wrong.
    There will come a day when mass petroleum consumption will come to an end. I hope people realize that.
     
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  5. Paul M

    Paul M Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Waterloo, ON
    190
    165
    I can't recall exactly when somebody said it to me but it was as a child - they said "you see with your eyes, not your hands".

    Oddly enough it's one of those things, that for one reason or another just stuck with me. I have applied it to my lifetime of camping/hiking and my time as a Scuba diver.
     
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  6. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL
    1,919
    2,639
    Extreme behaviors will get us in trouble every time. We all get defensive when accused of not protecting what we believe is our favorite resource.
    If you go to the other side of the planet to dive and your rule is to not touch absolutely nothing, then good for you. If you walk to your shore dive and get dinner for you and your family, who am I to judge?

    I only dive locally (good?), but I use my own boat (bad?), don't drive a car the days I go diving (good?) it is not easy to quantify each individual move we make.

    I have a fishing license and harvest a few species legally, I don't take photos, I take new trash out but requires me touching stuff in order to remove it.
    I've also seen many things while doing all that... it isn't rare to see a half eaten fish going about his business like nothing happened, so hearing someone telling me about the horrible impact I can cause while softly touching the belly of an undersize flounder before nicely letting him back on the sand just sounds hollow.
    I do me without having to lose sleep at night about my impact, doesn't seem reasonable to judge someone based on a quick snapshot behavior if I don't have all the facts of their everyday impact.
     
    Bob DBF, pauldw and Jcp2 like this.
  7. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    10,121
    6,865
    There's definitely a distinction to be made between a delicate coral reef dense with all kinds of life and frequented by hordes of traveling divers--many with dubious buoyancy control--and a rocky or sandy shore area where the taking of certain species for consumption is deemed sustainable and visited by only the hardy shore divers. I know someone pointed that out upthread. Different behaviors for different environments. I treat a coral reef like it's a museum. I'd also love to try spearfishing down in Florida--it has long been on my list of diving modes to try someday. I plan to take a lesson from a knowledgeable teacher who emphasizes learning the species and sizes that are fair game. There are probably a few things that should be treated like museum pieces there, too. (No, let's not start a goliath grouper discussion.) I speared a few fish on snorkel/freediving when I lived out west years ago.

    The OP mentioned seagrass (or was it seaweed?). If seagrass, I guess one would have to know the status of seagrass in the area to know what the impact of "combing through" it might be. I hear agricultural runoff in Florida has caused algae to decimate the seagrass there--the manatees' main diet. Maybe that's all the more reason for divers and snorkelers to avoid touching it.

    As I see it, the bottom line is that we should learn about the specific environment in which we're diving and behave appropriately to do whatever we can to avoid making things worse than they already are.
     
    eleniel, Paul M and Ana like this.
  8. pauldw

    pauldw Solo Diver

    638
    759
    Once, in the Red Sea, while working up the coast by bus toward Palestine, I was doing a little snorkeling just off the beach and saw a cone shell on the bottom. I thought it was just the shell, that the snail had died and the shell was left. I picked it up to bring it to the surface to look at it. About halfway up, I glanced down and saw a proboscis waving around trying to find something to poke. So I dropped it promptly. That might be an example of when not to pick stuff up.
     
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    14,946
    4,184
    Yeah exactly. Some divers just go to the extremes. No concept of the big picture, but ready to pounce if they see something they can comment on. Says the shell collector...and those divers who are experts on which species are in any danger of extinction.....
     
    Lorenzoid and Bob DBF like this.
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    14,946
    4,184
    Picking up cones can be dangerous as the poison from certain ones can actually kill you. I believe most of them can sting, with varying results. I've never had a chance to use them, but I do have a large jar and tongs attached to it should I come upon one other than just an empty or dead one on the beach.
     

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