Jump to content
acroporas

What's wrong with harassment?

Recommended Posts

I personally would rather not touch or manipulate at all but with my limited SCUBA experience there seems to be a real pressure on DM's to 'provide a show' when leading a group - DM's taking a fin off and using it to poke a lionfish out of it's crevice, likewise with a large (9') Nurse Shark, grabbing a puffer and passing it round the group... I'd rather position myself to get the shot I want than position the animal - I guess I feel like moving the animal is 'cheating' in a way. Besides which I can just about position my dogs for photos and they're meant to do as they're told!

 

In terms of damage to reefs I think it's a particularly valid point when talking about sites that get 2+ visits a day from boatloads etc. of divers, often with poor skills*, but I saw a very interesting bit on a program recently - Wild Indonesia 'Underwater Worlds' - it featured a coral reef that was annihilated by a volcanic eruption but came back after a few years with far greater biodiversity than previously.

 

 

*As I'm sure many folks on here are only too aware - number of dives logged etc. is no guarantee of ability, attitude or spacial awareness!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
it featured a coral reef that was annihilated by a volcanic eruption but came back after a few years with far greater biodiversity than previously.

 

This is hardly surprising as it follows basic ecological principles. After a disturbance event, the ecosystem is a 'clean slate' where numerous organisms can stake a claim. It take decades to centuries for a community structure to progress towards climax succession in which the ecosystem will be dominated by those individual species best adapted to that environment. In this case, these species out-compete other species that may have originally been there, and the biodiversity index is lower than in a community that is just being colonized. Re-colonization opens the door for many opportunistic species and generally raises the overall biodiversity index. Please don't misconstrue - this is not saying something to the effect of "divers damaging the reef increase its biodiversity" because this is untrue. A volcanic event would be a large scale, acute disturbance event triggering a paradigm shift in the community. Divers cause a small scale, and chronic disturbance on the reef which can negatively effect both the biomass and biodiversity of a reef. The small but stable disturbance may prevent successful recolonization by consistently damaging the same area as divers pass through, not allowing the time necessary for organisms to re-establish.

 

cheers!

 

- MDP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is hardly surprising as it follows basic ecological principles. After a disturbance event, the ecosystem is a 'clean slate' where numerous organisms can stake a claim. It take decades to centuries for a community structure to progress towards climax succession in which the ecosystem will be dominated by those individual species best adapted to that environment. In this case, these species out-compete other species that may have originally been there, and the biodiversity index is lower than in a community that is just being colonized. Re-colonization opens the door for many opportunistic species and generally raises the overall biodiversity index. Please don't misconstrue - this is not saying something to the effect of "divers damaging the reef increase its biodiversity" because this is untrue. A volcanic event would be a large scale, acute disturbance event triggering a paradigm shift in the community. Divers cause a small scale, and chronic disturbance on the reef which can negatively effect both the biomass and biodiversity of a reef. The small but stable disturbance may prevent successful recolonization by consistently damaging the same area as divers pass through, not allowing the time necessary for organisms to re-establish.

 

cheers!

 

- MDP

 

Yeah you could say that Diver induced damage skews the evolutionary selection process from what it would be on a virgin reef.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cant not believe some of the things coming out of peoples mouths or in this case fingertips.

 

Acroporas, i really wonder why you chose that name? And be able to say that touching and fondling of coral does not harm it? I have been working for a Coral Reef conservation foundation for the last 7 years and have direct evidence of such distruction but, my point is this...

 

If we cannot be sure, whether we are harming the animal or not... WHY F*CKING BOTHER!???!!!!

 

There is enough dead rock or sand or rubble to put a well placed fingertip on, if your dive standards arent good enough to hover (PADI openwater dive 2), that you shouldnt need to touch any living benthic animal to steady yourself. Yes, every now and then a wayward fin will kick something, no one has eyes in the back of their head, but the active, nonchalant touching of animals is pointless and yes destructive.

 

Now onto manipulating a subject... WHY F*CKING BOTHER!???!! As if these live creatures dont have enough to worry about, with you guys killing their habitat, the world at large changing the global oceans at a rate previously unseen, without your metal rod coaxing them into better positions for what.... a photo that gives you some minor satisfaction? Come diving with me and use a metal rod and it will either be rapped across ur knuckles or stuck where the sun dont shine.

 

We take these photos to capture a living creature at its finest in its NATURAL habitat. So if that frogfish (camoflauged as nature intended) wants to sit face down in a hole... let it. Go find another. Learn where these creatures hang out, learn their movements and capture that. Way more exhilarating when you get it right, as any one who has seen Mandarinfish mating or similar will tell you. A passive waiting game for true behaviour.

 

As for fishing... that is a natural phenomenon of hunter vs hunted. If the hunted becomes food then so be it, as long as the fishing practice is non-destructive to any other organism. I.e if we compare long-lining for tuna to spear fishing... we all should know that long-lining has the highest percentage of bi-catch per fishing method, including sharks, turtles, birds, and other fish compared to the 'educated' spear fisherman, who catches only what he needs to live, survive or sell at the market. By educated i mean a susistance fisherman (probably living below the line of poverty and never having finished school), not a college educated boy killing fish and game for fun, with no want for food.

 

So, in short dont bother, it achieves nothing.

 

Olly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second Olly.

 

If we don't know what the consequences of touching coral really are (as some people claim), then that in no way justifies us touching them.

 

Even if we assume that it is ok (and doesn't harm the coral), it's still no good reason to use an animal as a handhold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harassment of sea life while trying to get a photograph is a subject on the top of my mind. I just returned from a month of diving the Raja Ampats and 10 days in Lembeh. While in Lembeh I witnessed, and wished I had had the fore thought to take a picture, a group of people tearing apart a group of sponges to get a better shot of a frogfish. While in the Ampats last year, I watched a group of divers from a very well known dive resort move an ornate ghost pipe fish several times, by batting it around, just to get a better shot. After finishing with the pipefish, this same group (dive guide included) pulled a wobegong out from its hiding place onto the sand to film its movements. I am about to write and article regarding this very subject. If anyone wants to add their stories, I will be happy to use your story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Harassment of sea life while trying to get a photograph is a subject on the top of my mind. I just returned from a month of diving the Raja Ampats and 10 days in Lembeh. While in Lembeh I witnessed, and wished I had had the fore thought to take a picture, a group of people tearing apart a group of sponges to get a better shot of a frogfish. While in the Ampats last year, I watched a group of divers from a very well known dive resort move an ornate ghost pipe fish several times, by batting it around, just to get a better shot. After finishing with the pipefish, this same group (dive guide included) pulled a wobegong out from its hiding place onto the sand to film its movements. I am about to write and article regarding this very subject. If anyone wants to add their stories, I will be happy to use your story.

 

I feel a little bad to "expose" the "offending" dive centre/resort on the forum/s. But would privately inform my diving friends about them... I would also inform the guides that I don't appreciate them moving things, i.e. folding the sea fan to expose the pygmy seahorses, moving rocks to expose the shrimps (a tiger shrimp was nearly devoured by the opportunistic fishes, after being photographed because the guide torn the place apart... :D ) etc...

bonniemckenna, I will PM u to ask abt the dive centre/resort, in nov, will be gg to Lembeh & a friend is gg to Raja Ampat... Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel a little bad to "expose" the "offending" dive centre/resort on the forum/s. But would privately inform my diving friends about them... I would also inform the guides that I don't appreciate them moving things, i.e. folding the sea fan to expose the pygmy seahorses, moving rocks to expose the shrimps (a tiger shrimp was nearly devoured by the opportunistic fishes, after being photographed because the guide torn the place apart... :D ) etc...

bonniemckenna, I will PM u to ask abt the dive centre/resort, in nov, will be gg to Lembeh & a friend is gg to Raja Ampat... Thanks!

 

I'm not sure exposing the Divecentre will actually help. All the operators here would be appalled to know that one of their staff was doing this kind of stuff, but to be honest you never know what the staff get upto when you're not in the water with them. Sometimes the guests lean on them pretty hard to do naughty things.

 

I'd suggest for anyone seeing bad behaviour in Lembeh to contact the DiveCentre directly with the date/time/divesite so they can refer back to the records and reprimand the diveguide in question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's be real about the fact that if rocks are lifted etc, most of the shots of critters which hide wouldn't be possible. Reporting them sorta does help people who are on both sides of the fence. :guiness:

 

Those who don't want guides to be touchy touchy can avoid the ops and those who don't mind or even encourage it for photo ops get to go to a place where the service is provided. Win win! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those who don't want guides to be touchy touchy can avoid the ops and those who don't mind or even encourage it for photo ops get to go to a place where the service is provided. Win win! :D

 

That will be confusing for the people who come on the forums and say "I don't want anything manipulated" and then harass everything when they are down there. I am getting fed up with hearing of the number of people who say one thing publicly and then behave completely differently.

 

So soon will be lots of people posting on Wetpixel asking "Can you tell me the resorts that manipulate creatures> So, errrm, I know which ones to avoid!" :guiness:

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That will be confusing for the people who come on the forums and say "I don't want anything manipulated" and then harass everything when they are down there. I am getting fed up with hearing of the number of people who say one thing publicly and then behave completely differently.

 

So soon will be lots of people posting on Wetpixel asking "Can you tell me the resorts that manipulate creatures> So, errrm, I know which ones to avoid!" :D

 

Alex

Hey, sanctimonious remarks are da best! How else could those who got caught with their proverbial fingers (or whatever creatures) in the jar, be able to perpetuate the age old parental adage: 'Do as I say and not as I do!'

 

Actually I'd love to see the operators publicly denounce manipulation of critters in their advertising: 'No one prods anything at this resort!' or 'No touchy touchy at our resort!' Conversely, it'd be cool if they advertised their open policy: 'Pick up, flip and prod to your heart's content at our resort!' or 'We are all about touching the critters here!'

 

:guiness:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Wetpixel. You can't witness discussions like this on other diving forums! Come on Alex, tell us how you got those five pigmy seahorses to pirouette through space. Did you shake them up in a jam jar first? Don't try to kid me it's a computer job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel really bad about lifting an old piece of corrugated tin to see grass snakes now ... ;)

 

Dive safe

 

DeanB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an assistant that had a pet spiny puffer in an aquarium, which he handled and puffed up every day. When it got too big for his aquarium, we took it to London Zoo. A week later we went to visit it. It was in the quarantine tanks. I spotted it but when it saw him, it recognised him, went crazy at the glass and puffed itself up. Tell, me that it was harming itself!

Edited by John Bantin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was that the fish version of Pavlov's dogs :-)

Edited by E_viking

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was that the fish version of Pavlov's dogs :-)

Probably correct - but it lived a long life! Like the Napolean wrasses at Ras Mohammed that, when they died, people said they got cancer from the food divers had been giving them. When I researched an article about it, David Frape, the distinguished animal nutritionist, pointed out that they had lived much longer than normal because they were so well-fed and they got cancer because that's what happens when you get very old.

It's never as simple as we think and we should not ascribe human characteristics and feelings to other species of animal!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is definately true that the longer you live, the higher the likelihood to get cancer.

The question is what is harrassment and how to define it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, a really good discussion, it was really interesting to read it. Some kind of harassment that was not so much discussed here is the harassment of larger animals (Mantas, Dugongs, Dolphins etc.) on their feeding, nursery, cleaning sites. Often dive shops offer trips to special areas where you have a good chance to see these large animals. However, many of these areas don´t have a good management in place and too many divers scare the animals away. There are many examples where special spots are prerequisite for a local population and they can be in big trouble when too many divers (and UW-photographers) want to see them. I was really shocked when I saw the Dugong diving industry in Egypt. There are only a handful of individuals left and they are heavily stalked on most of there foraging places. And the UW photographers even increase the pressure because they advertise these places. I saw so many diving journals with dugong images from Egypt. You rarely see other divers in these images, but the real situation looks much different : www.wwf.de/blog/oekotourismus-oder-oekoterrorismus/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last month I attended a presentation by the Hurghada environmental protection and conservation association (HEPCA) while diving at Wadi Lahami. They made a lot of progress with dolphin tourism, dive boat mooring systems and waste disposal in coastal resorts and towns. I brought up the point of dugongs and they recognize the problem of their disturbance but unfortunately no regulations are in place at this moment.

 

Bart

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is truly depressing, for existing at all. I hope that, by the time that I picked up a proper camera, I had learned to look and not touch.

 

The excuse (and it is an excuse) that one kind of harm is less serious than another doesn't wash.

 

Perhaps it's as well that I'm no longer in the game...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheer up, Tim, another few centuries and the world will likely have blown up anyway. Or overheated. Or frozen. Or have been taken over by Apple (hmm, maybe not such a bad thing). We're all just passing through. Like the dinosaurs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're all just passing through. Like the dinosaurs.

 

I know. I am a dinosaur...

 

... and pining, a little, for my Poseidons as I drive around in my hairdresser's/sports Audi TT Mk III that was my consolation prize for giving up the bubbles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I know. I am a dinosaur...

 

... and pining, a little, for my Poseidons as I drive around in my hairdresser's/sports Audi TT Mk III that was my consolation prize for giving up the bubbles.

 

 

Wow, that's some consolation prize! Good for you. Get the wind in your hair - rather than the salt. :dancing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...