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Lasse

The last idiot has not been born yet

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A few years back was on a trip out of LaPaz. With us was the editor of a now defunct Dive magazine out of Santa Barbara. We came across some A divers from the far east. One of them was doing the same thing to a puffer fish. The editor went up to the guy and shuck her head no. When the diver continued to harass the fish she punched him. I almost drowned I was laughing so hard.

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That's absolutely shocking. - but I love the sound when he gets bitten

The guys in the background seem to be all over the reef too :drink:

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Ugh. What an ass.

 

Metacafe says the guy who posted the video is:

 

Oleg Bozhok

41 Years Old

Male

From Moscow Russia

Works for Underwater Expeditions

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Hi

 

I cant believe that there are still such irresponsible people out there - and then they proudly post their stupidity for all to see. Shouldn't evolution have taken care of idiots like this?

 

Cheers

 

Hal

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I can't believe that there are still such irresponsible people out there - and then they proudly post their stupidity for all to see.

Yeah, just amazing how these dumb asses cannot even recognize after the fact what dumb asses they were. One of the reasons I dive is to to get away from the dumb asses on land; but it does not always work - yesterday I was unfortunately stuck with a few in West Palm. Nothing like this though.

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It's true that a lot of photos and videos that would have won contests 20-25 years ago would be automatically eliminated today. It's hard to believe that even after decades of preaching reef conservation and not harassing the animals, and using the EPIC rules for photography, that some idiots still do stuff like this. :drink:

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"Two things are limitless. The universe and human stupitity. And I'm not sure about the universe"

 

Albert Einstein

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What an ass ... I'm not sure if the guy referenced as the poster was in the water or not, but he's clearly "responsible" for this "effort".

 

When you Google his name, this thread on Wetpixel is the 2nd hit ...

 

The first has the full contact details:

 

All exclusive rights to the series belong to ANO "Underwater Expeditions".

 

On all matters concerning purchasing the rights of demonstration, please contact us at the following address:

 

Mr. Oleg Bozhok

101000 Russia, Moscow, 12a, Tchistoprudny Blvd., office No. 421.

E-mail: oleg@videodive.ru oleg@bozhok.ru

tel./fax:+7 (095) 925 72 88, 916 94 20, 916 90 24, 956 35 03

mobile: +7(095) 774-37-30

 

http://www.videodive.com/films/video/video.php

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I punched someone in the gut once while underwater for riding a turtle .. he threatened me afterwards .. but I am still here !

 

This guy needs a good big axe to the back of the neck. I mean some things can be humour full, and i can't say if i came across a blown up puffer fish I wouldn't be tempted to poke it to see what it felt like .. but now seeing that little guy bite back i will think more than twice.

 

I think I would rather punch or maybe underwater drop kick that guy more than touch a puffer fish.

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Hi

 

I have just emailed Mr Bozhok and asked him to explain himself and remove the video.

I reckon everyone should do the same

Who knows, we may get an answer/result

 

Cheers

 

Hal

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EDIT OUT BAD WORDS Really PO'd me. Sorry that was unreal just unreal. The quality stunk on the playback, and seemed like some things could be from the current, hoping maybe it was not real or wish I could see the guy get bitten hard clearly.

Edited by TheRealDrew

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In a similar vein - I went to Belize for a coral reef ecology graduate course about 4 years ago. The entire group decided to go on a night dive. I turned around to see our divemaster take his light and smash it down on a porcupine fish. It predictably blew up and he proceded to bop it with his light, bouncing it off the bottom in a grotesque mimicry of those balloons on elastic bands I played with at the boardwalk as a kid. I looked around at 15 pairs of horrified eyes on my fellow marine biology students. Needless to say, the divemaster was bombarded by 16 angry tirades as soon as we hit the surface and vowed to never touch another thing underwater again. Most of us know better - but there are still way too many who don't. We have come a long way in marine conservation but videos like this are small reminders that we cant let our vigilence wane - we have to continue to fight for the oceans and it creatures at every turn...

 

cheers!

 

- MDP

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I'm horrified by this!! I'm also shamed to admit to having watched a dive guide a mere 5 years ago do the same thing and not said a word to him about it after the dive. I'm such a different diver now. I now do all possible not to alter an animals usual pattern of behavior by my presence or need for a photo. I've learned that many creatures live at the very edge of survival and any unexpected event, sheer terror especially, is very costly in terms of energy spent and could cause them to use up more of their reserves than they can afford, eventually causing their death if they are unable to replenish those reserves.

 

So many of the iconic images from the past (for example, Stan Waterman's son riding the manta) illustrate what is now viewed as the exact wrong way to interact with marine life. We do however continue to see these images, and never with a warning label indicated the incorrectness of this behavior. I'm afraid to say that some dive instructions skip right over the "correct treatment of wildlife" portion of the training as well. I dive for the joy of experiencing a world different from my own and I would no more harass an innocent puffer than I would exit a safari vehicle to find out if lions like having their tails pulled!

 

The harassment of marine wildlife does continue and we as divers need to make sure that it is stopped when we see it happen. Even though it may be your photo of a lifetime, don't let your dive guide "rearrange" a scene for you to get a better shot. Make it clear both to the guide and the resort that this is not acceptable behavior and don't be afraid to report it when you see other dive professionals doing such things.

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I share the same reaction many of you had when watching that moronic clip. It reminded me of a recent article I saw here in the only diving magazine available here, Dive New Zealand magazine. In this article describing a local dive site, there's a photo of a diver cupping an inflated puffer, and is captioned "Jeremy plays with a small porcupinefish, which puffed up briefly before speeding off at half a knot, like a motorized basketball." I was shocked to see the picture, but not completely amazed as the Kiwi dive culture is more "hunter-gatherers" than "take only pictures, leave only bubbles". Not exactly what you'd expect in a country that bills itself for its clean, green, no nukes, all organic, eco-friendly image.

 

This month's issue has a letter to the editor from a dive shop owner in another South Pacific island country expressing a fair amount of outrage and going over many of the same points made here: don't #@$%! with the wildlife and questions the integrity of publisher for allowing such an image to be printed, with which I fully agree. But wait, it gets better. In a moment much like Pulp Fiction's one liner "please allow me to retort", the following letter to the editor is responding to the first letter and was written by the article's author. A few key quotes from the response for your enjoyment:

  • "I am very pleased that he [first letter writer] shows such rare concern for the welfare of fishes that he has bothered to write to you about it. I would comment, however, that puffing up at the onset of even minor stress is a very common behaviour of a porcupinefish."
  • "I would hope [writer] would also protest, much more vigorously, at the common practice of fishermen to inflict severe stress and trauma on 'sport' fish and game fish... Of course the fish struggles for its life, responding as if it is about to die, and many of course do....But some fishermen pride themselves at being 'conservationists' by tagging and releasing the fish after making it suffer so."
  • "I would gladly support [writer] if he was to take up this greater challenge and try to get a better deal for those thousands of fish that are deliberately subjected to huge trauma every day, and a large industry encouraging them to carry on in this barbaric way."

What does my head in about this response, is that the respondent never apologizes for stressing the first fish, takes this incredulous and belittling tone, and then goes on a rant about if you're really so concerned, then you should crusade against tortuous fishing and leave me and my porcupine fish alone. Though I think printing the original image was in poor taste, I think the counter-attack was clearly an attempt to redirect attention to something much more sinister like fishing (not that most fishermen are dive magazine readers).

 

Watching this all unfold in print makes me realize how much more education needs to take place in the world. While I agree that sport fishing is pretty barbaric and cruel, that does not excuse the author (and picture taker) for his behavior nor does it let the publisher off the hook for choosing to print that image. Stress is stress, and mucking with fauna whether you're doing with scuba tank or a fishing pole just isn't right. In my years of diving, I've never seen a puffer of any sort resort to its common behavior of puffing up. Almost every one I've seen has tried to hide or blend with the environment first and if that doesn't work, then it does an about-face and swims away as fast as it can (just like any other fish).

 

But I've saved the very best nugget for last. The guy who wrote the "blame fisherman, not me" letter and took the image had to sign his article for it to be published, but he would have done himself a great service by leaving out his title after his name... PhD, QSM, Marine Biologist. :chatterbox:

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Well we all know many marine biologists are very hands on with their specimens. However, that guys seems to want to use the Hitler defence, as in "Hitler killed 10 million, what's wrong with me killing a few hundred?" mentality. :chatterbox:

It does bring back this dead horse topic of relative tolerance of interaction. What is the difference between this and pushing and prodding (aka "encouraging") a frogfish/rhinopias to pose in the position? What about crittercam's on sharks which have to be captured, pulled out of the water and camera attached, all for the sake of TV (ok there's a little pseudo science involved but what's the difference?).

I'm not playing devil's advocate but want to show that even the most contemptuous acts can be seen as no big deal. Obviously the NZ article and this video are examples of this.

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What an ass ... I'm not sure if the guy referenced as the poster was in the water or not, but he's clearly "responsible" for this "effort".

 

When you Google his name, this thread on Wetpixel is the 2nd hit ...

 

The first has the full contact details:

 

All exclusive rights to the series belong to ANO "Underwater Expeditions".

 

According to the Spanish Royal Academy ANO means: Orifice in which the digestive conduit finishes off and through which the excrement is expeled... Asshole in common language.

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Just to show you how prevalent this sort of behavior is... Exhibit B:

 

 

Exhibit C:

 

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Sure, let's punish them all by increasing their hit count and therefore popularity metric for any future searches by impressionable new divers or youngsters. Way to go.

 

Sorry Drew, not really intending to beat on you personally...but idiots abound, we all know it, and I really don't care to see anymore of it. Fortunately "NOscript" is just showing me the frames and I just did a hover to find out those were Youtube links. :chatterbox:

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When I was a kid, we used to eat in a restaurant with "puffer" lamps. Inflated fish with light bulbs inside. I don't know how old I was before I started to realize how gross that was.

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When I was a kid, we used to eat in a restaurant with "puffer" lamps. Inflated fish with light bulbs inside. I don't know how old I was before I started to realize how gross that was.

Hi

 

OK deep dark secret time - I have (to my shame) got one of these lamps.

12 years ago just after I certified, I went to Cuba diving, and there they where selling these puffer lamps. At the time I thought they were cool and bought one. Over the years I realised that actually it wasn't cool, but quite gross and environmentally scary, so now it is consigned to the back of the garage.

It just shows how impressionable new divers are; my Cuban DM told me they were OK, so I bought one. We have to be very careful how we talk and act around new divers. PADI talks about 'appropriate role modeling' when training DM's, but gives little guidance as to what this really means, so our conscience must guide us. I know better now and teach accordingly

 

Cheers

 

Hal

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