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Devastation on Mexico's reefs!!!

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"Pistoleros" on hookah systems are wiping out every last fish on the reefs between La Paz and Loreto Bay in the Sea of Cortez on the eastern side of Baja California. Check this link out here (and be sure to watch the video):

 

http://seawatch.org/mail_campaign/alert2_back.html

 

These disgusting fishing practices appear to be causing a total collapse of fish life in this part of the Sea of Cortez. I remember spectacular diving off La Paz on a trip a few years ago, the highlight of which was playing with the mantas as La Reina. I hear those mantas are now gone along with almost all the other fish. If you have ever dove the Sea of Cortez or ever wish to, speak out now. You can write a letter to mexican officials here:

 

http://www.seawatch.org/mail_campaign/pistoleros_letter.php

 

The review period, before potential legislation is passed to ban hookah systems, ends on JULY 8.

 

This topic has been briefly discussed (together with horrible long lining) here:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showt...l=sea+of+cortez

 

but i felt it necessary to tell everyone that now is the time to speak out. Here is the letter i wrote:

 

2007-07-03

 

Dear Conapesca Official,

 

I have visited the Sea of Cortez a few years past and was amazed by the abundance of life on the reefs. As a diver, I found the destination and people spectacular. While I was planning to revisit soon, a little research told me that most of the sites I visited off La Paz and Loreto Bay have been wiped clean of most of the marine life (including my favorite dive at La Reina to see the mantas that I hear are now gone!).

 

I hear now that this disapearance of life is due to disgusting fishing practices by so called "Pistoleros" on hookah systems. Many beautiful locations have realized the immense value in tourism related to their wildlife. The short term gains made by slaughtering all the marine life pales in comparison to the long term gains in diving related tourism and sustainable fisheries.

 

These devastating fishing practices MUST be stopped at all costs. Now is the time for the human race to take up stewardship and protect what we once thought was an infinite resource in the ocean. Now we know it is not. PLEASE help me to stop this so the marine life in the Sea of Cortez can be enjoyed by all for generations to come. Sincerely,

 

J. Christopher Burville

Edited by Undertow

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Done:

 

2007-07-03

 

Dear Conapesca Representative

 

I am a professional businessman that has long admired Mexico as a vacation destination - not least because of the wonderful marine life and SCUBA diving locations, but also because I was under the impression that the Mexican government was concerned about issues like wildlife and resource conservation.

 

I have admired Mexico for banning the use of SCUBA and pneumatic spear guns for spear fishing. However, I now see that Mexico is allowing commercial fishing using the same gear that is banned for sport fishing. In addition it seems that local fishermen are losing their local income and way of life because commercial boats using compressed air diving and harpoons are removing so much from the reefs.

 

Please ban these devastating practices so that the reefs can become healthy, Mexico's local business are protected, and Mexico is seen as a viable tourist destination once again. I'm sure the income from tourism is more critical to Mexico than a short lived fishing program that will have disastrous environmental consequences for Mexico and its neighbors for years to come.

 

Regards, Nick Jackson

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Done.

 

 

 

simply unbelievable and short-sighted.

after they kill everything, their own industry is gone.

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done - these pangas are the same that get used in ecuador, but i have yet to see

 

this develop in such a way. lets hope it never does.

 

mark

Edited by writepic

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So disappointing. I was aware of this but not aware of seperate legislation on it. On my mobile today but will send the letter tomorrow.

thanks for posting.

shawn

 

done - these pangas are the same that get used in ecuador, but i have yet to see

 

this develop in such a way. lets hope it never does.

 

mark

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Done! Sent to all my diver friends. Please spread the word.

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done

 

-----Simon bangs his head against a brick wall.

 

It's hard to understand such stupidity :)

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Is any of this for real?

 

My friends who live down in Loreto, and run dolphin dive center baja, say they don't know anything about it!!

 

How can that be?

 

What gives here?

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Whilst this does look bad ... I have a couple of questions.

 

1) Who gave the name pistoleros ? I think it means Gunmen.

I was expecting some sort of dynamite fishing. I am guessing that name goes on to the spear fishermen in the video. And yes that is pretty bad habit .. spearing sleeping parrotfish whilst on Snuba ... but the complaint needs to be against spear fishing not the 'Hookah' or Snuba equipment. The letter on the site says Pneumatic spear guns .. i didn't see those i saw just spears. (equally as devastating when used on sleeping fish)

2) In my mind the video on that site showed something much worse and that was the Net fishing it looked like what I believe they call Gillnet use, where the fish try to swim through a opening in the net only to find it is not quite big enough andcan't swim backwards as the net catches on their gills. I don't personally think that net fishing of any sort should be done on tropical reefs, particularly for the fact it kills the reef as well as the fish.

 

So my point here is .. even though I am sure many people sent off a letter ... the wording of the letter seems to be bad in the fact that they are asking for things that seem to be not happening to be stopped and don't ask for the things that are happening to be stopped.

Not trying to start an argument, but i would be very interested to hear if anyone else noticed this ..or if I am completely wrong !

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