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Graham Abbott

Fishing on dive boats...

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It drives me nutty when I see so much fishing going on from the back of dive boats. Some operators seem to encourage this, some actually offer sport fishing charters in diving areas, many crew have lines out from the back of their boats when going by dive sites too!

 

I was diving a few very well known sites in Misool, Raja Ampat not so long ago and saw fishing lines over some reefs. I can’t stand seeing this, though I do know that this happens and locals need to fish, however this wasn't locals, this was expensive braided fishing line with very expensive lures! These only come from the expensive dive liveaboard boats that operate in Indonesia.

 

What are your thoughts on fishing from dive boats, be it fishing for food, sport fishing, fishing for crew food, or recreational fishing to pass the time?

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I personally think it is hypocritical. To me, it is the same as going to a photo safari in Africa and killing lions for dinner. But I think that's just me, since this appears to be a common practice not only in Indonesia but also in other places.

 

Luiz

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I agree and would not want to go on a dive operation that does it.

 

There is a company here that while out Whale Sharking decided their crew would throw a line in while the customers were snorkeling. A French girl got her wetsuit hooked, the crew just laughed, the girl was horrified as to what had happend. :rolleyes: She was on her trip of her dreams:(

 

There are a couple of real dodgey operators here so those that come here should really ask around first and not just go by the nice looking brouchures.

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Hi Guys,

 

I don't see a problem with fishing for palegics while moving through deep water between sites. But I eat fish and think there is no difference between catching "green list" fish myself and eating them vs buying them at the market.

 

I think it's wrong to bottom fish over a reef though as the mono often breaks off and stays on the reef doing damage for years.

 

Cheers

James

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What do you folks think of this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8414666@N04/

 

looks like a diver and UW photographer KILLING sharks and baby sharks for fun in Indonesia. Anyone know this guy?

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I don't know him, but he actually posted some of the shark-fishing shots in the Wetpixel group pool. SUPER tacky. I've banned him from posting in the pool, and have blocked him so he can't list me as a flickr contact.

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There's a superb piece of drama in Peter Benchley's book "shark trouble". Its an excellent, short read. In any case he speaks of a guy fishing for the yellow fin they were seeking to document. He said they were just starting to move against a blue water background so Waterman could get the shot when he felt a searing pain around his ankle as he was being dragged to the abyss. That one scene is worth the price of the book so I won't go into the details but suffice it to say a yellow fin which had been hooked wrapped itself around his leg and took him to about 200ft before it decided to stop going deep.

 

On the guy with the photos of dead sharks. Here's one guy whose opinion has been changed by just coming on here and getting educated about the issue. So I guess tolerance for stupidity followed by a good helping of education should be the approach for guys like that.

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It drives me nutty when I see so much fishing going on from the back of dive boats.
I'm in agreement with James. I've been on a number of boats who troll while making deep water crossings. I don't see a problem with that. Can't say I've ever been on one that fished shallow reefs, though I would not condone it if I had.

 

But we have to accept that sustenance is a powerful motivator and rationalizer and becomes culturally engrained in those for whom it represents life. And if fishing shallow reefs has been productive for certain fishes, it's pretty hard to blame local workers on expensive liveaboard boats for doing something their families have been engaged for centuries. Try to educate them?....yes. Condemn them?....I'm not yet at that point.

 

And I think I have to admit that a local fishing a shallow reef, be it from his own boat or the liveabaord he works on, is doing less to destroy the seas than I am. Not the least of which is creating a market for boats that spew diesel particulate into the air as well as diesel and lubricants into the sea, right above those same shallow reefs.

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I think there should be clear rules that get enforced, that there is no fishing in diving areas, sadly we have them but they don't get enforced. I like fish and have no objection to fishing but not where we dive.

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On the guy with the photos of dead sharks. Here's one guy whose opinion has been changed by just coming on here and getting educated about the issue.
....except those photos weren't about the sharks, they were about him. And I think someone who finds his machismo in such pathetic images will simply pander it elsewhere. I'd tend to agree with you had he removed the images from flickr, but that hasn't happened yet.

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I am no eco terrorist by any means and I have no problem at all with trawling in open ocean areas. It's when dive boats trawl over dive sites where they know there are plenty of easy fish to catch. There are no longer so many big Spanich makerel on GPS Point due to this.

 

I've been talking with folks involved with setting up the Raja Ampat rules and regulations. One thing I have been constantly suggesting is to get the rules and regulations printed out in English and Bahasa then laminated to go in the wheelhouse of every liveaboard, then there is no excuses what so ever.

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What do you folks think of this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8414666@N04/

 

I think it may be better to simply ask this guy why he has a shark over his shoulder, obviously he's into fishing as well. GO to any Austalian harbour towna nd you'll see this on a daily basis, fishermen catch sharks on a regular basis there.

 

Maybe explaining to this guy what he is doing by taking sharks will make him change his opinion. This is after all what forums are best for. We all have opinions and sometimes these opinions can be stupid or come across wrongly, though if someone can change an opinion then we are doing good and not just slagging someone off for being an idiot!

 

I'd say from his log on name that he's from Kuwait!

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....except those photos weren't about the sharks, they were about him. And I think someone who finds his machismo in such pathetic images will simply pander it elsewhere. I'd tend to agree with you had he removed the images from flickr, but that hasn't happened yet.

 

I feel the problem with liveaboards isn't the willingness to follow a guideline or suggestion but to say no to a guest. Crews will do anything to please guests and if guests want to fish ANYWHERE, how many liveaboard crews will stand up and say no, especially if crew members don't really believe they are doing anything wrong.

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I think it depends on the purpose of the fishing. Sport fishing? Then im absolutely not in favor of it. Go find a sport fishing boat and dont hassle the dive boats.

 

I do think fishing for fresh fish for dinner isnt a problem as long as it's in deeper water. Some liveaboards actually promote that, and having fresh fish or even sushi for dinner sure tastes nice.

 

Cor

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On a recent trip to the channel islands out of santa barbara, I was horified to see two divers spear fishing. The idea that they were allowed to be doing this with divers in the water was petty scarry. Any thoughts on that?

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On a recent trip to the channel islands out of santa barbara, I was horified to see two divers spear fishing. The idea that they were allowed to be doing this with divers in the water was petty scarry. Any thoughts on that?

 

This isn't uncommon on the NC coast where I dive, and it doesn't really bother me if they know what they're doing and don't shoot in my direction (i.e., shoot away from the wreck). Typically though, underwater hunters tend to charter their own trips, easier that way. To me, spearfishing is a lot more eco-friendly than any other form of fishing, since there's no by-catch, no tangled nets or lines, etc. It also requires a pretty significant investment in gear and training, limiting the impact of newbie weekend warriors.

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interesting debate........re spear fishing, it can be argued that impact from this is less damaging than other methods, but in areas where control on other methods is non existent, spear fishing can prove the straw that broke the camels back. in our local national park, (machalilla) there are lots of non enforced controls, hence no controls, and a serious decline in goliath groupers, until last year when another diver and myself witnessed a years old monster of 500lb or more, only to see the same fish, one that would have brought divers in as a local attraction...dead, killed by a spearfisherman, drawn by his own "legendar acts" boasting about how it took 2 people to get it to the surface. the fish had obviously avoided nets and longlines for a long time, but its curiosity was its own downfall when appraoched by said testosterone driven moron with speargun.

 

m

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It drives me nutty when I see so much fishing going on from the back of dive boats. Some operators seem to encourage this, some actually offer sport fishing charters in diving areas, many crew have lines out from the back of their boats when going by dive sites too!

 

I was diving a few very well known sites in Misool, Raja Ampat not so long ago and saw fishing lines over some reefs. I can’t stand seeing this, though I do know that this happens and locals need to fish, however this wasn't locals, this was expensive braided fishing line with very expensive lures! These only come from the expensive dive liveaboard boats that operate in Indonesia.

 

What are your thoughts on fishing from dive boats, be it fishing for food, sport fishing, fishing for crew food, or recreational fishing to pass the time?

 

 

While passing local regulation is one way to set a standard to follow by as far as fishing on dive sites goes, anyone who has worked in the indo-pacific or any far reaching corner of the diving world can attest that enforcing such hopes can be pretty hard to do. I remember guiding a dive a few years back only to see a small Napoleon Wrasse speared about 5 meters from a guest and myself on a so called "protected reef." The sound of the pnuematic was enough to spook the guest, but the true horror for him came from the close call of the spear and the killing of the wrasse. The culprit, a boat driver from a dive company.

 

Spearfishing is not the topic here, but the danger and un-professionalism of an operator IMHO allowing hunting on the reef where divers are including his own guests. Regulations or not, a good operator will always listen to paying customers and have a call to action where "dirty green paper" is involved. Speak to an operator if you see this and want to try and make a difference. Lost income from potential guests, not regulation in cases like this will can help curb this kind of behavior in the future (at least I hope). I guess if the guests don't really care or say something.... well what then? Sure we all have to eat, you can't tell the locals they can't fish on a dive site they have been fishing for centuries, but you can ask that your dive operators don't do it, at least on the dive site.

 

As for the shark guy, he probably has no idea what those kind of pictures mean to other individuals more educated than he on the current crisis of sharks in the world. Look at the Flickr posts, they think he's a hero. Education and a little enlightenment might be the best way to first approach this one...

 

Doug

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I was on a liveaboard in the Andamans and while waiting for folks to gear up for the night dive the crew spotted something floating by the back of the boat.... the went out n the dinghy and lo, what did they find but a 20 lb Tuna.. dead and just floating with the current...

 

Then a few minutes later another even larger Tuna floated by.

We looked up current and there was a fishing boat with three guys on the pack jigging their poles like there was no tomorrow.

 

Apparently they were looking for record fish and would keep he largest until they caught a bigger one! Then they just dumped the smaller one into the sea.

 

Really pissed most of us off since they were fishing the same reef we had dove earlier and it was pristine!!

I doubt they would have gotten away with that off the back of a boat with divers.

 

I will admit that we salvaged the dead Tuna and had them for Lunch and Dinner :D so I guess it wasn't a total waste but jeez...

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I totally agree with you Doug, though many of the operators who actually own the liveaboard operation are not always the boats, most have staff onboard to run the boat for them.

I am just hoping that when the Raja Ampat finally sets things up their will be a guidelines for things like safe anchoring, fishing practices and the likes. I think these should be printed out in English and local Bahasa Indonesia, laminated and should be placed in every boats wheelhouse, this way new crew and everyone knows the rules and there will no excuses!

 

What do you folks think of this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8414666@N04/

I am not a member on Flickr though maybe someone could go online and ask this guy if he understands what impact he's doing with shots like this!

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sportfishing and spearfishing have pretty low, even non-existent, by-catch rates. To me, seeing the guy fishing off the back of the boat is better than serving fish on the boat that was caught with a long line, gillnet, drift net, bottom trawl, etc. The fishing that goes on where you can't see it is often a lot worse than the fishing you can see.

 

I can imagine a vegan asking a similar question, and being disgusted that divers are eating fish at all.

 

I'm not a vegan. I still eat everything, and even fish.

 

Anybody see the images from Brian Skerry in a recent National Geographic? check out the shrimp bycatch photos in particular, the first and the last:

 

http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/070...1/gallery4.html

 

http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/070...1/gallery5.html

 

http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/070...1/gallery9.html

 

http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/070.../gallery13.html

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sportfishing and spearfishing have pretty low, even non-existent, by-catch rates. To me, seeing the guy fishing off the back of the boat is better than serving fish on the boat that was caught with a long line, gillnet, drift net, bottom trawl, etc. The fishing that goes on where you can't see it is often a lot worse than the fishing you can see.

 

I would't be so sure about non-existent impact of sportfishing, check this:

 

"In the Gulf of Mexico, recreational catches of overfished species in 2002 made up 64 percent of landings. Sport fishing also resulted in 38 percent of the catches of these species in the South Atlantic, 59 percent along the Pacific coast and 12 percent in the Northeast."

 

You can read the full article here: http://www.fsu.com/pages/2004/08/27/overfishing.html

 

Also, when you say that you prefer to see the guy fishing onboard than having a fish that was bought in a market, remember that the fresh fish caught onboard is in addition to those that are in the market, and not a replacement.

 

Don't take me wrong, I am in favor of fresh fish for sushi and a nice dinner too, just not the reef fish that we see while diving. Nothing against trawling for wahoo and tuna in between dives.

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Eeew - big contentious debate. What makes tuna ok to trawl for 'in between dives'? I for one have stopped eating a toasted tuna and egg roll with my regular morning latte on the basis of understanding more about tuna depletion. I've also been eating and loving prawns since for ever, but now will have to give them up too morally on the basis of the by-catch wastage.

 

I'm an ex-spearo with lots of kills, and only ever hunted for food, but now the rules have changed, and as divers and photographers we cannot continue to support the fishing of endangered species, or species whose very capture cause massive wastage and depletion.

 

Sure the picture would be different if every shark captured was eaten in whole, but the amazingly successful marketing of the albeit moronic raison-d'etre of shark-fin soup put paid to that, and we cannot live by even the seemingly acceptable practices of the recent past. I also loved 'rock cod' or shark/dog-fish and chips in the UK years ago; unfortunately this is a relatively new and accelerating crisis where we must all make painful decisions ....

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NickJ,

 

thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you :) :) :D your posting should become the wetpixel code of conduct.

 

 

ok now who wants to start a debate on what makes the best conservation subject, pretty pictures or ones that show environmental/species damage?

 

m

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NicK, you are spot on. What was "sustainable" yesterday is no longer so. The rules have changed and we must change accordingly. Just like we point to the Chinese and say give up shark fin soup b/c sharks are almost gone, we must change our dietary habits to recognize that other species are on the brink.

-shawn

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