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What's wrong with harassment?


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#21 james

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:21 PM

Good post! Yes, there are a lot of other impacts to corals reefs, besides divers with cameras.

But that is EXACTLY the reason that we need to minimize our impact - so that the reefs can have a fighting chance against the thousand-point gorrillas of watershed destruction, coastal development, and overfishing.

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#22 Drew

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:21 PM

While it would be silly to encourage such behavior, the amount of damage that is done by divers is sustainable. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You obviously haven't been to Koh Tao, where up to 12k OWD are certified a year. :D Nothing more than 4 inches stands in some beginner areas. :lol:
Obviously as Luiz has stated, in the grand scheme of things, a chunk here or there doesn't matter, but ettiquette for the fellow divers and the inhabitants of the reef should be respected. Sorta like why shoot a beautiful 100lbs grouper when you can buy fish in the market? Other people don't get to see big fish like that often anymore. And sometimes I don't even want a picture of it... just to know majestic creatures are abound is good enough.

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#23 Paul Kay

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:34 PM

Whilst diver damage is utterly insignificant given many modern fishing 'techniques', damaging the marine environment is about ethics. You either believe in maintaining and conserving, and not damaging, the environment you dive in, photograph and appreciate, or you don't.

I do!
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#24 Lionfish43

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:59 PM

This is indeed one of my favorite subjects. I think we all agree that damaging the marine environment is a bad thing. When we try to define what does and does not constitute damage we get into some pretty muddy water and there are people with strong opinions at both ends of the spectrum. For myself, I'm probably more towards the poking, proding end of the spectrum. I don't mind nudging a subject to get it to get it to present a better pose as long as I'm not physically harming it or it's setting in the process. Yet I consider myself to be an evironmentally concious diver as well as a skillful and aware photographer and that my impact on the reef is minimal. I will also refrain from said activities if I'm diving with an operation or at a site where this is considered bad form.

What bothers me these days is the almost demonization of photographers and there supposed damage by some dive operators and on some dive forums. I've been on dives were I know the divemaster is watching my every move just waiting for me to engage in inappropriate touching. All while nuebie divers are thrashing about. I have been told by a divemaster that I should not kneel on rubble because coral could be attempting to colonize....give me a break. There was even an incident on Cozumel recently where a photographer was physically assaulted by a divemaster while underwater for touching a seahorse. The actions of the divemaster were generally applauded on several of the diver forums.

For myself my only reaction (besides keeping my touching in the closet) is to vote with my pocketbook. If I find the actions and/or policies of a particular dive operator to be unreasonable I save us both the hassle and don't return.
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#25 acroporas

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 03:20 PM

Sorta like why shoot a beautiful 100lbs grouper when you can buy fish in the market? Other people don't get to see big fish like that often anymore. And sometimes I don't even want a picture of it... just to know majestic creatures are abound is good enough.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Wait a second. Were you joking here? Where did you think the fish in the market came from?? The one in the market is one less grouper for all to see just as much as the one the spearfisherman shot....
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#26 Paul Kay

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:39 AM

I read somewhere that trawlable areas around Britain are trawled on average once every three years! If you've ever dived after a trawl has been over the seabed you will know what that means! Diver damage is a problem if the area dived is vulnerable to diver damage but not other pressures. I'm not a coral reef dive (well, the odd holiday) but I hear stories from those who dived many popular reefs many years ago bemoaning the destruction they see today (for which they may well have been partly responsible). You have to keep things in perspective though. As I said before diver damage is insignificant globally, but should be unacceptable personally.

For those who argue about fishing destroying or removing fish that we see, but who'd still like to eat fish, I'd suggest looking out for a copy of the Marine Conservation Society's "Good Fish Guide" which details the 'acceptable' and 'to be avoided' fish to eat! Sadly the vast majority of the world's fisheries are subject to overpressure at the moment so enjoy seeing fish while you can!
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#27 MikeVeitch

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 03:51 AM

Sadly the vast majority of the world's fisheries are subject to overpressure at the moment so enjoy seeing fish while you can!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Yep, thats exactly it. And for some reason i don't see cows or pigs going extinct...
So i will go home and enjoy that bacon cheeseburger now... :lol:

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#28 apete

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 04:03 AM

What do think that little pig or cow eats? They eat ground fish! (Together with some antibiotics.)
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#29 MikeVeitch

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 04:23 AM

Dammit, did you have to say that? Guess i am going home and eating carrots....

Oh, and just for that....Sweden sucks at hockey! :lol:

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#30 apete

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 04:38 AM

There are plenty of Swedish hockey players in Canadian or American teams. Don't know of any Canadian players here in Sweden. Why is that?
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#31 3000psi

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 05:33 AM

Great topic and a nice civil discussion. This is a topic I am always interested in debating. Being also an avid nature photographer above water it causes quite a stir when applied to those settings as well. The use of calls to attract deer or predators seems to be frowned on by a certain group of photographers as being a less pure form as setting in a blind waiting for hours for a subject to walk by. Also many nature photographers turn their noses up at photogs that go to game farms to get photos of nothing more than pets posed in natural surroundings and demand that photos should be captioned as such less they be confused with the "real thing".

As to the use of calls the objection always falls to the stress you are causing the animal as well as causing it to deviate from its normal behavior resulting in spending unnecessary energy it may not have to investigate the source or run off an intruder causing the subject , or its neglected young, do die a few days later.

I think one must always exercise caution to impact nature as little as possible but recognize no matter how careful you are you will always be impacting the environment in some negative way.

The photogs or even the environmental fanatics that believe that all these creatures are that easily stressed need to avoid all outdoor activity. While hiking to photograph scenics I have spooked deer and I am sure my scent has caused wild animals downwind to adjust their behavior. As someone said above just because you can point to another group that is doing more damage does not excuse your behavior. That poor feather duster that was feeding just retracted as you swam three feet over him might have to do that dozens of times daily in a heavily dived area causing him to stress out or miss crucial feedings making him more susceptible to disease or predators. If you mulitiply this over an hours bottom time think of the number of negative impacts a diver can have even when he does not get near the reef. ( not to mention all the microscopic plankton that his movement through the water is impacting, or does this life not really matter ?)

Based on this line of thinking diving should be illegal as we are gradually killing the reefs and their inhabitants. The bottom line is that as photographers we are all somewhat selfish and jealous at the same time. In the above example about the game farms the photographer that can afford to spend three months in the wild following the snow leopard and maybe get a one decent shot is upset that another photog with time/budget constraints get hundreds of beautiful posed shots of a snow lepoard in natural surroudings that only a small percentage of people might know the difference.

We are sort of a selfish bunch as we know all divers are creating some impact when just diving let alone photographing. So let me up the ante with Williams original question.... If you truly believe the talk of stressing out animals and killing coral, etc. why should you do it for nothing more than the pleasure you derive from it. Does the world really need another photograph of a pygmy seahorse to go with the ten of thousands that have been taken already ?

#32 paul.hunter

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:48 AM

Greetings All

I glad to see there are alot of people that care about our oceans. I also no long eat sea food and take alot of abuse from fellow work mates on this issue. Have dived with some other photographers who don't give a shit about what they damage as long as they get that shot. I was so upset with them and had words with them but they could not understand english, they were from Japan.

A year or so ago if you had a underwater camera you were the odd one out these days though if you don't you are the odd one out. I try and set a good example everytime I dive with a camera. I also think it's important to educate people with camera's if you see them damaging the reef, especially new divers and camera's.

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#33 Paul Kay

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:54 AM

If you like sea food it is probably far better to eat sustainably produced seafood (ie diver harvested scallops, RSPCA approved, organic farmed salmon, mussels from sustainable 'ranched' (seeded) areas, etc.) than not to do so at all as creating viable, acceptable jobs ensures better marine management than simply reducing demand (and hence prices) which has often resulted in waste historically.
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#34 Drew

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 01:05 PM

What do think that little pig or cow eats? They eat ground fish! (Together with some antibiotics.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Chickens(esp egg layers) and pigs eat feed with fish content the most.
However, the fish meat used is usually from farmed sources. There was a bit of scandal with illegal bycatch was being sold in the 90s from Central and South American countries (including fishing from Cocos!) I don't know the resolution of that one because I stopped being in the organization which monitored it. The calcium is usually from stuff like oyster shells is essential for egg laying chickens.
Cows not so much, they use to get feed their own species as part of their meal but mad cow disease stopped that real quick. They are fed chicken faeces, pig and soy protein now.
The feed dilemma is that the food is often cyclical. Cows slaughtered have parts mixed into feed for chicken and pigs which comes right back as cow feed.
There is no way to be fully environmentally friendly without killing off 4 billion people( and probably feeding them to the farmed animals!) Doesn't mean you don't have to do your part. You'd be amazed how much you can do if you tried. I have 2 lbs of trash a week now. I try buy all recyclable package, an earthworm can to absorb the organic waste and walk or bike around (and I live in LA, land of cars!).
Eating sushi(tuna) and shark is definitely more detrimental to the sea than say sardines and uni(urchin). Cutting seafood out takes away the "exotic" fish catching and makes fishermen go for the more sustainable sources. I doubt chilean sea bass was ever used in chicken feed once they found a place in a gourmet kitchen. Shark meat is now getting more popular as regulations about keeping the entire shark grows (tell that to the korean, taiwanese and spanish boats!) Educating oneself and choosing wisely is all you need to start contributing. It's not possible to be fully eco-friendly, but not hard to be very active.

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#35 astrl

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 10:11 AM

I'm sorry to say that I didn't know that there were "cool" things hiding in the butts of some sealife. ;)

I prefer not to touch the sealife myself. As for others, they can make that decision themselves.

I share the same opinion diving that I do for hunting: If you are killing to eat, fine. If you are maiming because you have to fulfill some sadistic need, I disapprove. However, I don't tell other people how to think because I don't want to be told how to think by other people.

#36 JohnJohnsonIII

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 03:25 AM

Hehehe...time for me to offend some people. The picture in the initial post bothers me for reasons you might find bizarre. I have little problem with people spearing fish. I myself come from a spearfishing background of sorts. Someone shooting their lunch is just as valid as someone paying someone to do it for them when they buy a burger at McD's. I guess my problem is the SCUBA tank. I try to think how pathetic a waterman one must become before one has to don a tank to go chasing fish that could easily be speared on a breath of air. I guess my problem is that I find it lazy and pathetic, really.
Then again, being a freediver, I observe a lot of SCUBA behavior that I find highly offensive. I guess my problem is that there are no ethics lessons taught during the SCUBA training. At least not when I got certified. I have seen people cut open sea urchins to feed the ornamentals to get nice pictures. I have seen a swarm of divers pack an underwater ledge and eventually force out the two sharks that had been occupying it. I have seen divers stop to dig and prod and yank an octopus out of its hole to harrass it and play with it. I have seen divers chasing after turtles--a protected species. I have seen divers spearing ornamental(and non-edible) fish with a cheap 3-prong they probably rented with their tanks and kayak. I'm not talking about things I have seen over many years--I'm talking about THE LAST TIME I GOT IN THE WATER LAST WEEK. As a person who spends a majority of my life in and around the water and involved in ocean-related activities, I find these behaviors to be disgraceful. I see no respect for the environment, I see no respect for nature. This bothers me greatly. Don't misunderstand my intent--I appreciate SCUBA and think it is wonderful in that it has opened up a deeper world to many people. I myself use SCUBA to access depths below 50 and 60 feet that I usually do not explore for long while freediving. But when I use SCUBA I take with me my love and respect for the ocean. I don't treat the ocean environment and its inhabitants in a way in which I wouldn't want my own home and family treated. It's that simple. I guess my biggest beef is that SCUBA education seems to focus more on the technical aspects of accessing the underwater world without addressing how we should interact with it. Anyway, just my $.02 as a soon-to-be-flamed freedive photographer.
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#37 MikeVeitch

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 03:47 AM

No flaming from me...

I put a stop to a mother and daughter playing volleyball with a pin cushion starfish the other day! I could not freaking believe it...they were diving by braille i swear!

I could rant on that one quite a bit...i gave the mother quite the mouthfull too, didn't help a bit...

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#38 acroporas

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 04:05 AM

No flaming, but that fish could not have been shot by freediving. Was in 100' of water and it took two hits to kill it.

I must say mike, I'm sure there was more and your couple deserved it, but if it was just the starfish I'd say you over reacted.
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#39 anthp

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 03:05 PM

I must say mike, I'm sure there was more and your couple deserved it, but if it was just the starfish I'd say you over reacted.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know you are trying to temper your comments William, but I think Mike did exactly the right thing. Even if there was nothing more than described by Mike, I think he made the correct decision.

Given the description of the treatment of the starfish, would it not be fair to assume that such behaviour might be indicative of general disrespect and a poor level of understanding of appropriate interactions with marine live. By pointing out the faults in their behaviour, Mike may have mitigated against wider and potentially more damaging implications.

Go sick 'em Mike!
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#40 MikeVeitch

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 08:15 PM

Thanks Anthony. And as William said, there was more but...
It was the starfish volleyball that i couldn't believe. I don't mind someone picking up a starfish and inspecting for shrimp, that doesn't bug me. Its the fact they actually picked it up and were playing volleyball with it! not just one pass or two but five, six, ten times! I betcha no more shrimp on that one...
The point of my original post was basically just to agree with John, there is a significant amount of disrespect down there...

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