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Scuba_SI

Destruction of divesites

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So, i just got off the phone to my good friends and all round cheeky diveguides Made and Ali.

 

They just got back to Ambon after a few months away, and are amazed at the change to the divesite Laha.

 

Laha was probably the hottest divesite of the year out here with the new species of frogfish making an appearance and a whole menagerie of other critters. I remember doing a dive there with Made back in March/April, just after a very large liveaboard (not the one i was on!) had been diving there, on the first dive before the other boat dove there it was the same as always.. afterwards it was a mess... Leaffish were 10, 20 meters away from where they were 3 hours previously, and a poor juvenile pinnate batfish about an inch long was 20 meters up current. I'm not going to mention the boats name as i know some famous names were organising that trip and don't want to start an argument as that is not the purpose of this thread, and i took people there so of course i must take my small portion of blame.

 

I remember back in March i was predicting the demise of the divesite due to this famous new species... I didn't think it would happen this quickly!

 

Apparently, most of the critters have gone - leaffish, blue ribbon eels, even huge corals 2 meters across have moved a significant distance... Every rock has been overturned looking for this special fish; so all the substrate binding sponges have been broken up - i'm sure the entire site will get washed away soon. The local divestores are now at odds blaming each other for the state of the site and they both say the new froggie cannot be found.

 

If any of you folks are heading out that way don't get your hopes up about seeing this new fish, and if you do travel there please dont but too much pressure on the guides. It would be a shame for this fish disappear for another 15 years, and i really dont want to be the only person with photos of the fish with eggs :P

 

This is a very serious example of what happens if you put too much pressure on impressionable guides to give you the subjects you crave, so it is something to remember wherever you go. :good:

 

Here is a non-eggy photo of the fish in question:

 

simonbuxtonin06122.jpg

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Sad to hear and it is an unfortuinate by-product of whatever the new and hottest dive site/area is. The old sites go down hill and then new sites get on the hit list it seems :P

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Actually Simon, while you are in the industry and thus not in a good position to report on such things, I do hope that readers do report on the misdeeds of dive ops. It's fine to bring 30 people there but all you need is one or two idiots and the whole place can be marred for a long time, as you report.

It's also the responsibility of the dive ops to make sure the sites are protected from visitors and even themselves. Unfortunately short sightedness and greed make the local dive guides (even the more experienced ones) sway toward making the quick buck. And who can blame them? If they ban a group who causes problems, their reputation can be stained since they usually are not as savvy as the visitors in terms of internet prescence. The pressure is enormously burdening.

While self-scrutiny is obviously the preferred way of behaving, history does show that most people need to be led and reined in.

Until then, my credo of keeping sites with super finds quiet is probably the best way to protect them. It's selfish of course, but the alternative is even more bleak.

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Sad to read :P

 

I think like Drew and here we do not show new critters to anyone unless is someone we really trust. We also have been called selfish but when we weren´t the critter suffered/disappeared/died...

Edited by davichin

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Actually Simon, while you are in the industry and thus not in a good position to report on such things, I do hope that readers do report on the misdeeds of dive ops.

 

Actually Drew... i do not see any reason why i should not report on this, i am not pointing the finger at anyone or naming names, nor am i placing the blame on the local dive operators - in fact i even take some blame myself as i took people there.

 

I took some wetpixel folks there and whilst I'm not a hardline 'thou shalt not..' type of person they all knew where the line was and if i saw it getting crossed i would pass comment, but this isn't about my style of diving - it's about the sad fact that divesites are getting hurt for us photographers to see things.

 

Anyway, as usual you jump on a thread that i create take a negative stance from the outset; last time i was lazy for asking a genuine query - this time I'm not allowed?? I wasn't aware that wetpixel had censorship, but if it does i guess i should go somewhere else. Also, I put this in general chat because hardly anyone seems to look in the environmental section and i had hoped to create a bit more of a debate.

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Simon, I think I wasn't clear on my intent in my reply. I was referring to you being in the Indonesian industry and thus may not feel comfortable in naming names as it were. I was running with your post by asking WP members to report operations that do cross the proverbial line so we who feed the industry can choose whether to give them our money, or not. It was not a comment on you.

If you consider that negative, then so be it but no one has censored anything. In fact, I'm asking for more feedback on ops that allow reef destruction for a shot. I'm sure some people don't mind it but others will. The more information the better. I'm sorry you took my post personally. :P

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It was possibly the condescending tone that riled me, and i wasn't the only one that noticed it. Hey ho, never mind.

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I don't understand why people threaten to leave as soon as a moderator makes a comment that is read as being impolite. Obviously, I'd prefer if everyone were nice all the time, but moderators make mistakes, and they are normal people who have opinions.

 

It's only in rare cases that we censor. And in a few cases, we've uncensored something after a moderator has overstepped his bounds and removed a post without due cause. Mods work hard behind the scenes, but can make mistakes.

 

A disagreement is no reason to threaten to leave!

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Maybe i should take it as a compliment, maybe Drew is a fanboy and that's why he likes following my posts...

 

Also, i got a rather odd email from him at the same time but anyway, i just wanted people who were considering booking to know that it's not the same as last season, not to 'stir things up'

 

The fact i'm in Indonesia should not bear any relation to my posts - i dont have a problem 'naming the boat' that i felt caused havoc on a site... But it wouldn't be constructive and would just end up being another slagging match on here, which it's turning out to be. Delete the thread if you wish.

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Hi SI,

 

Is that Froggy found anywhere else? Don't name the place - but I am curious if it's a truly local species like the splendid toadfish of Cozumel.

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Got a report from Da Wu Man from Ambon. Laha is in ok shape. But it's difficult to judge what is ok since he wasn't there when Simon was there.

The new froggies are still around but very rare. Hopefully operators learn to control guests and guests themselves learn restraint in their photo taking.

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That's great news.

 

Skeeter - My understanding is that this species is only found in one location, which is a pretty dirty muck dive in the bay of Ambon.

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