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Planned ban of underwater cameras in Sipadan


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#1 saudio

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:52 AM

http://www.uwphotogr...ater-camera-ban



#2 dhaas

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:59 AM

Better plan would be to disconnect any divers inflator and see if they can dive and stay off the reef with or without any type of camera :(

 

No diver is perfect and anyone who claims to never have touched bottom, coral, etc. isn't honest or never dives. The difference is being aware and working to keep the environment healthy by not inflicting damage you can control.

 

Sport diving training today is in a sad state with gear and money replacing practice and watermanship....

 

Not thrilled as I wanted to go there someday but I understand some of the reaction and trying to let the area rebound.

 

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#3 newmanl

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:55 AM

Honestly, I applaude the measures. In fact, I think more places should do the same. Hopefully, the result of which would create a demand for better diver training.

 

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#4 Ronyx

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:38 PM

is there another perspective to this? as the original poster states, they are no longer planning to go to Sipidan. If a large number of others follow suit for similar reasons then tourism would decrese. This would be good for the reef but bad for the economy. the other questions is, are photographers the ones doing the majority of the damage. I've seem plenty of cameraless divers with horendous bouyancy skill.

#5 MortenHansen

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:06 PM

Camera ban.. Really?

 

I know that a lot (not all) of photographers have little/no buoyancy control and/or just don't care about anything but getting their images, but doing a general ban on all photographers, thats just plain discriminating.

 

Maybe they should make a minimum certification level of rescue diver+peak performance buoyancy and +100 logged dives, now that would make sense. 

 

Also, when you go to Sipadan, before going diving you have to drop by the jetty to get all the permissions sorted, they could get the tourists off the boats, give them a briefing/show them a video about the island, the nature-reserve and ways to interact with the environment/rules & regulations.

 

Having some guidelines set by the marine police (touching living things=dive finished) would make people think twice about it when they consider sitting on top of a turtle posing for a shot, furthermore it would give the dive-guides some more "official" authority.


Anyways, I think there are so many better ways to protect the environment that they should try out first.

 

-Morten 


Edited by MortenHansen, 28 March 2013 - 11:07 PM.


#6 MortenHansen

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:11 PM

If a large number of others follow suit for similar reasons then tourism would decrese. This would be good for the reef but bad for the economy.

 

 I don't know if it would be better for the reef. There are 120 permits/day to go to Sipadan, Im pretty sure those permits will be sold out by divers not carrying cameras even if the ban would be effective. 

 

Also, if there would be a decrease in tourism that would mean that there would be less money coming into the region, thereby most likely forcing the locals to go back to fishing rather than eco-based tourism such as diving, at least thats my 2 pennies worth. 



#7 Ronyx

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 04:13 AM

Good perspective. Thanks. Also, i like the suggestion in post suggesting minimum diving experience and training restrictions

#8 John Bantin

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:00 AM

Part of the problem has always been the reluctance of Asian dive guides to remonstrate with Western guests. It is a cultural thing.


Edited by John Bantin, 29 March 2013 - 02:32 PM.

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#9 Drew

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

John, I don't think it's a racial/nationality issue with guests.  I've seen bad divers from many countries in my visits to Sipadan and the guides just won't do anything for fear of offending clients, from any country.  They tend not to be confrontational as part of the culture, whether Malaysian or Flippino. 
Let's first be real and accept that underwater photography (and diving in general) does a lot of damage to coral. Especially in a high traffic zone like Sipadan.  Other high diver traffic places (like Komodo etc) all suffer from the same sort of damage.

Also, one has to note that the ban IS NOT in effect yet and there is no set date for enactment.  One of the suggested rule is the exclusion of professional photographers, that's going to go down well with many! :)


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#10 saudio

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:34 PM

John, I don't think it's a racial/nationality issue with guests.  I've seen bad divers from many countries in my visits to Sipadan and the guides just won't do anything for fear of offending clients, from any country.  They tend not to be confrontational as part of the culture, whether Malaysian or Flippino. 
Let's first be real and accept that underwater photography (and diving in general) does a lot of damage to coral. Especially in a high traffic zone like Sipadan.  Other high diver traffic places (like Komodo etc) all suffer from the same sort of damage.

Also, one has to note that the ban IS NOT in effect yet and there is no set date for enactment.  One of the suggested rule is the exclusion of professional photographers, that's going to go down well with many! :)

Part of the problem, though, is that the Malasian government seems to make decisions on these sorts of things rather precipitously.  I would not plan a trip there as long as the rule is under consideration, for fear of them enacting the rule at a time too late for me to change my plans. 



#11 Drew

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:45 PM

It's politics.  If they don't look like they are doing something, then they may look ineffective.  Unlike our US congress, which wants to be ineffective for the sake of being ineffective! :)

I'm pretty sure it was one of the NGO studies which pointed the majority of damage to underwater camera users, and that's something I'm inclined not to disagree with.  I haven't gone back to Sipadan in years after going a couple of times a year in the 90s and early 00s.  I saw the coral shrink from overdevelopment on the island and of course El Nino.  It is a pity that even protected areas are now declining due to human activities.


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#12 MikeVeitch

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:10 AM

John, I don't think it's a racial/nationality issue with guests.  I've seen bad divers from many countries in my visits to Sipadan and the guides just won't do anything for fear of offending clients, from any country.  They tend not to be confrontational as part of the culture, whether Malaysian or Flippino. 
Let's first be real and accept that underwater photography (and diving in general) does a lot of damage to coral. Especially in a high traffic zone like Sipadan.  Other high diver traffic places (like Komodo etc) all suffer from the same sort of damage.

Also, one has to note that the ban IS NOT in effect yet and there is no set date for enactment.  One of the suggested rule is the exclusion of professional photographers, that's going to go down well with many! :)

hehe.. some pros that I have dove with are absolutely shocking in their disregard of the environment and do far more harm than new divers just to "get the shot".  Others have perfect skills and absolutely try to protect the reef all the time..  it really is amazing the difference in the views of pro photogs as well as other photogs.  The ones who should know better are often the worst offenders, I have patience with new divers, I have none for those who should know better


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#13 John Bantin

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 04:36 AM

When I witnessed the coral bleaching disaster that struck the Maldives in 1998, I realised that diver damage was nothing in comparison to the damage wrought by those burning fossil fuels - and which country burns the most per capita? Don't bother to reply! Just go and turn off your air conditioning/central heating and get a smaller car!


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#14 Steve Williams

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:37 AM

Oh good a test question.  What country burns the most fossil fuel per capita?

 

According to this Guardian article

 

 

The simplest way to compare the emissions of countries is to add up all the fossil fuels burned and cement produced in each nation and convert that into CO2. According to 2011 data compiled by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the top emitter is China at 9697 million tonnes (MT) or 28.6%.

 

The problem with focusing purely on CO2 from burning fossil fuels is that it ignores other greenhouse gases and non-fossil-fuel sources of CO2.  Current reliable data is hard to come by but as of 2005, the top emitter as measured in total greenhouse gases is China: 7,216 MT or 16.4%

 

Comparing nations can be misleading, if you consider emissions or a per person basis Qatar shows up at the top of the list with 36.9 tonnes. If we look at historical emissions from 1850 to 2007 the US tops the list with China coming on strong. 

 

If we look at total historical emissions per person which seems to be the most important measure on a personal level Luxemberg is the number one contributer to CO2 emissions with the UK coming in second.  

 

You beat us again John.

 

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#15 John Bantin

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:44 AM

This leads to arguably the best measure of current responsibility for climate change: the total carbon footprint of the average person in each nation. Figures are provided for a selection of countries below based on 2008 data published in a recent science paper.

Belgium 21.9
United States of America 20.2
Ireland 16.2
Finland 15.1
Australia 13.8
United Kingdom 11.5
China 4.3
Brazil 2.1
India 1.3
Nigeria 0.5
Malawi 0.2

 

The fact remains that ALL of the coral in the Maldives was trashed in 1998 and it was not trashed by divers!


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#16 Steve Williams

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:18 AM

So you have a problem with Belgium?   :P

 

I think we can agree that evicting divers with cameras is not going to solve the problem. I'm in complete agreement that the real long term risk to our oceans is the 7 billion people on the planet and the impact we all have.

 

We can also all probably point to areas we use to dive that are no longer worth getting in the water just from the effect of too many divers.  Grand Cayman come to mind for me.  I've got a map of the Cayman dive sites around here someplace that shows 40 or more sites on the east end off 7 mile beach.  They were beautiful unspoiled reefs in the 70's.  The cattleboats from the large hotels dumped thousands of divers on top of them every day and the result is that the last time I was there the dive site maps on Grand Cayman don't even include the sites we used to love. It's just dead coral and sand.  Divers do have an impact and we have to do a better job of teaching new divers and reminding the experienced ones that any impact is too much.  

 

Sipadan's potential exclusion should be a wake up call to all of the cert agencys and all of us who have a voice in the photographic community to do a much better job of teaching new photographers and divers to be able to dive without major impact to the ocean we love.  Rather than blaming faceless countries and bemoaning Sipadans exclusions we should be sending emissarys from the dive community to see how we can help them. Sound like a cry for help to me.

 

And we should all probably look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we can do a better at staying off the reef wherever we dive.

 

Cheers,

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#17 John Bantin

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:42 AM

While I abhor anyone trashing the environment just as much as I abhorred tourists chipping away bricks from the 1000-year-old White Tower of the Tower of London as they did in the '50s, the fact of the matter is that these things are much more complex than a simple solution would suggest. For example, we in the West have fuelled the shark-finning industry by buying cheap goods from those countries that want the end-product, enriching them and pushing up the price, thereby making shark fins so much more valuable. We are ALL to blame. Modern industrial society in which we live and benefit brings with it many negatives.


Edited by John Bantin, 30 March 2013 - 08:48 AM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#18 Drew

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:22 PM

Pointing fingers at who's doing worse things is about as useful as those who deny there is climate change ( or the new narrative, oh it's real now but too late to do anything about it so let's keep going).  Small steps in reducing waste and emissions is always important as it's the initial water drop to become that snowball which becomes that avalanche.  Anthropogenic climate change dynamics are a longer term issue that must be dealt with, but no one can deny that diver damage is real and can be pretty devastating.  
How significant is it in the overall picture? It's pretty easy to see places like Koh Tao's beginner sites which have very little regrowth and popular dive sites where there's blatant damage by divers.  Most reefs can recover from bleaching if the water temperature becomes optimal for growth.  However, constant battering dislodges coral growth. There are plenty of studies from the 90s to 08 about diver effect. Some estimates say up to 80% of coral is damaged in areas with over 1000 dives per month.  That's pretty devastating.  Can entire areas be destroyed by water temp changes or industrial pollution? Obviously, but those things are less manageable, controlling divers is easily done.
I'm not agreeing with the camera ban but we can't deny that management is now needed, barring a meteorite strike which flatters the place and throws us all into a dust clouded wasteland! :)

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#19 John Bantin

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:45 AM

It's not the fault of any of the 315 million people living in the USA. I blame the whole thing on 11 million Belgians! ...and they are responsible for Hugycheck too! :)


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#20 gee13

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:22 AM

Before this thread ends up as a discussion about the whereabouts of Harvey Oswald or whether Crotchetting should be outlawed this News is that currently officially the ban is Not going ahead according to the Authorities. If there are changes Im sure we will be made aware. My thoughts on the original article is that its irresponsible and it should not have been written unless the News was made official and a date released.