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When we go to to areas like the Red Sea, we take great pains not to damage the marine environment in any way. We certainly wouldnt dream of popping the odd reef fish into our goodie bags. Then we come back to British waters, which, as we are constantly reminding people, offer some fantastic diving, and we mutate into frustrated spearhunters, whipping crabs lobsters (and apparently Dogfish) into our goodie bags. How many of us know much about their lifecycles to know what impact we are having? A lobster, for example, may live for up to 50 years.

Now I grant that the amount of stuff that divers take is very low compared to the stuff taken commercially. But given the damage industrialised fishing, fish farming, and sea bed dredging have already done to the marine environment round our coasts, shouldnt we leave the goodie bags behind and take the same hands-off attitude to British sea life as we would on a coral reef?
 

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Well, think you're starting something there!  I've had this discussion several times in the past with folk on other forums and some of those are on here also so I think I  can anticipate certain replies.

I think most people who know me know my views on this, basically I won't dive with anyone who's thinking with their gut, and that's non-negotiable.  Just like I wouldn't go hill walking with someone who was setting rabbit traps on the way up to collect the beasts on the way back down.
Also I wouln't be too keen to dive with anyone of the "lumphammer and crowbar" persuasion either.
I know some people will say "I don't see anything wrong with it and it's not illegal  so what's the big deal".
to which I would say that there's been plenty of laws passed within my 40+ year lifetime to make illegal things which have been deemed unacceptable.

Either one of the above three issues may not be illegal but that doesn't mean it's right, the law isn't the only guideline for gauging conduct. In fact one of my reasons for boycotting a well-stocked LDS is their prominent display of spearguns.

As I once pointed out on the BSAC forum, divers have already attracted enough bad press due to the Wreck Respect issue of a few years ago (whatever happened to that eh?) and if someone had prophesised that furore, they would have been laughed at. I would expect that it's only a matter of time before divers get taken to task over this.

Incidentally, John Gulliver or Anders may respond with the Swedish view on this, which I find very much to my liking

Steve
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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A good question and Steve W's reply raises some good points.

With regards to bringing back "one for the pot", well ...., unless you are a vegetarian I can't see there is a problem. If you eat something that used to be alive it seems to me you should at least be able to handle killing it yourself. Certainly all the people I dive with do not take anything that is noticably in the process of reproducing (ie lobsters with eggs) however I must admit I would not have a clue about anything else where the signs are not as visible. More knowledge to acquire I guess. I am very concerned about the depletion of fish stocks but there allways seem to be plenty of lobbies, crabs etc.

With ref to the dog fish I did say I was going to return it BUT don't forget dog fish is otherwise known as rock salmon and is, apparently, delicious to eat.

Wrecks and bringing things back? Another big issue for divers everywhere. Obviously, there is the "leave it alone so others can see it" arguement with which I have a lot of sympathy. On the other hand the wrecks I dive on are deteriorating badly and bits are falling off and being buried in the silt, probably never to be seen again. So why not?

I can't make a definite decision as my opinion varies - probably related to what I see and the level of greed I would suffer. I personally never take tools underwater so anything I bring back would already have to be detached - to date 2 bowls.

I have to admit that I would like to be in possession of a nice brass binacle or ships light or, of course, the ubiquitous porthole but, to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen one on a dive.

I will say, however, that I am quite happy just mooching about and having a look BUT I do bring things back to be eaten.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hi

Take nothing but photos
Leave nothing but bubbles
Kill nothing but time

Just a little saying I like and pretty much encompasses my view.

Andy
 

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Totally agree WL

Finless, not wishing to be seen as starting a ruck old boy, just my tuppence worth: small point, dogfish are elasmobranchs, (ie Sharks & Rays family), as such their reproduction rate is not as prolific as a bony fish (teleost, see my bit on the shark thread) so taking these would impact more on their population than, say... taking a cod would on cod population (if you could find any cod these days!) . A one-time colleague of mine did his PhD on sharks and rays, the ones around our coast have fared extremely badly.
Actually, the cod has had a much wider impact on our society than you might imagine, check this book
http://bookstore.mywebbookcenter.com/n_0140275010.htm

AS for the vegetarian issue, well, that's an old old chestnut that simply doesn't stand up to closer examination, conservation and diet are very seperate things.
For one, I find there's sufficient omnivorous diet divers who think the same as me,
and I know for a fact that David Bellamy, who is the man responsible for setting up St. Abbs Marine Reserve, doesn't view conservation in terms of what he will or will not eat, either in terms of St Abbs or the zillions of other projects he's been involved in. Nor is he opposed to killing introduced species to protect endangered native species (Australia in particular is the issue here). I met him at a science gig a few years ago, a fascinating and forthright man (ie calls a f***ing spade a f***ing spade      
 n )

Chee-az
steve
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Oct. 16 2003,11:39)]Totally agree WL

Finless, not wishing to be seen as starting a ruck old boy, just my tuppence worth .........................I met him at a science gig a few years ago, a fascinating and forthright man (ie calls a f***ing spade a f***ing spade      
 n )

Chee-az
steve
Steve,

No worries - I don't catch fire easily + any well founded criticism is analysed, absorbed.

Good point about the dog fish (sharks/slow breeding) - I did see about 7 of them (or the same one 7 times). They are very approachable and appear to like being stroked (can't be how they got the name dog fish??). As I mentioned, I had no intention of keeping it + I thought they were in plentiful supply. Cod however, I don't remember the last time I saw one.

Maybe there might be room for something to be set up on this forum where we could log details of things seen/taken and numbers OR when not to take things because of breeding??

Point taken over conservation/diet however there seem to be plenty of crabs and lobbies in our area so I do not think there is a problem with stock levels. If someone is going to buy shellfish then why not catch it themselves? It is a pitty chickens don't live under water.  


To you and your omnivorous friends who don't touch - more power to your elbows (even though you don't need it). There will be more for the rest of us  


Seriously, if there were specific problems with stock levels of stuff then I would have no problem leaving said stuff alone.
 

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<font color='#000080'>This was discussed not too long ago, so I am repeating myself.

I have never taken anything out of the sea, be it animal or wreck, but that is my personal view and I do not necessarily advocate a total proscription on either.

I don't take wildlife, but mainly because I eat very little seafood anyway, and certainly not crab, lobster or shellfish. I don't particularly object to others doing this, as it is at least selective fishing (I have assisted a buddy on a scallop drift for the group's evening BBQ, not taking anything for myself), providing those taking are aware of the ecological impact of what they are doing and therefore it is only done from a sustainable source.

I do object with interfering with wildlife purely for personal amusement (the example of "Crab Wars" is what raised my ire last time, though the offender is now a reformed character!). So Finless, I must ask, if you were not going to keep the dogfish, what the hell was the point in distressing it by shoving it into your bag in the first place?

Now then; wreck. I can accept the point that most wrecks are systematically being destroyed by the sea, and that bringing it up is basically tidying up the environment anyway. The main argument against that is that they are a big part of why we dive in the first place, so pulling the wrecks apart is hardly in the interest of the sport as a whole and is rather selfish and shortsighted. I've never understood the fascination with brass; it is not particularly valuable (especially collecting dust in your garage) and rarely of any historical importance (with perhaps the exception of a bell, for identification purposes). I'd be far more interested to find a porthole on the seabed (or better, on the wreck) than on my mantlepice, let alone someone else's. So the lump hammer and chisel brigade, in my opinion, are out of order.

The point above about bringing up loose items is, however, reasonably valid. Broken parts of wreck or bits of cargo are not going to stay in situ for too long. It may be a case of raise it or lose it. Perhaps not an argument for items safely secure within a wreck, but certainly for stuff on the seabed around the fringes. Not done it myself but can't think of a soild argument against it. So I might do it in the future, but only if it was something really worthwhile having, and not an old rusty bolt or a bit of broken pot.

Anyhow, needless to say I do not own or carry a goodie bag.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>First of all I don't take crabs or lobsters from the sea, that might be because I am frightened of those very large claws, come to think of it I don't eat them either so no problem there.  However some members of my club do and they are very selective when they do take one or two lobbies or crabs, unlike most major supermarkets which sell very undersized crabs and lobsters, nobody seems to be objecting to those.

However I do object to anyone taking dogfish, which as has been pointed out are members of the shark family, however they do eat dogfish (rock salmon) in the south but I have not seen it sold in the north.

As for brass these same members do take that also, I don't have the inclination to knock 7 bells out of a wreck, basically because I couldn't be bothered with that either, one member of our club did find the sextant on the Primrose hill which was very nice.  Having said that someone did give me a shell and a bullet which have cleaned up very nicely and I have them out at home.    


Fiona
 

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I do not eat much seafood so very rarely bring anything up but living in a area where commercial fishing is extremely destructive I can only say that it is far more friendly to bring it up by hand than to buy it!
My attitude is that you bring up anything you want as long as you eat it and I fail to see how anybody can argue against this unless they want a ban on the bigger culprits like fishing boats and dredgers.
 As far as wreck is concerned in most circumstances it is fair game, most wreck divers I know know more about the ships they are salvaging than anybody alive. An interest in history is what it is about to them. In my experience, apart from obvious things like portholes, most people don't recognise most fittings on a ship anyway so they won't miss what they never saw in the first place!
 Everybody is entitled to their opinion and can dive the way they see fit but it doesn't mean everyone else agrees with you.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]So Finless, I must ask, if you were not going to keep the dogfish, what the hell was the point in distressing it by shoving it into your bag in the first place?
Seemed like a good idea at the time is about all I can say. It appears that my thoughtless hooligan streak that I thought was well buried, isn't + I never considered the fish being distressed.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ] but only if it was something really worthwhile having, and not an old rusty bolt or a bit of broken pot.
On the dive where I found my second bowl (out of a total of two) there was a toilet bowl (apparently completely intact) half buried half in sand. I couldn't make my mind up what to do with it so I left it. On my next lap of the wreck someone had obvioulsy tried to scoop it out and given up. I still don't know what I would have done with it but I still kind of wish it had come up to the surface. Weird !!


[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Anyhow, needless to say I do not own or carry a goodie bag.
Are they allowed by DIR?

Oh I notice I forgot to say I don't eat sea food myself - my main target is spider crabs and scallops for a non diving friend who likes sea food more than anything (apart from beer I guess). Max two crabs and 6 scallops per day.

It is a pity "sea fleas" (my name for them) are not edible - my dive kit has been covered in them after dives this summer.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Finless @ Oct. 16 2003,12:08)]Maybe there might be room for something to be set up on this forum where we could log details of things seen/taken and numbers OR when not to take things because of breeding??
I thibk thats a really good suggestion suggestion. I'm an omnivore, not a moralist, but the "Its only one per diver" argument does worry me when you look at for example the number of Divers at St Abbs on the average weekend. Now I know St Abbs is a marine reserve anyway, but what about the Farnes? The wrecks off Brid? At what point do we begin to have a significant impact? I would hate to be a part of destroying an environment I love to visit.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Rupert Bear @ Oct. 16 2003,12:30)]but living in a area where commercial fishing is extremely destructive I can only say that it is far more friendly to bring it up by hand than to buy it!
My attitude is that you bring up anything you want as long as you eat it and I fail to see how anybody can argue against this unless they want a ban on the bigger culprits like fishing boats and dredgers.
Yes, I agree with bringing up by hand being more harmless than dredging. But I WOULD like to see dredging/factory ships banned. Its a wasteful and destructive process that kills and destroys far more than it yields. Its the equivalent of dragging a giant weighted net through a forest from a helicopter in order to harvest rabbits and squirrels. And in the long term by decimating fish and crustacean stocks they are destroying the basis of communities that have made their living by fishing - just look at whats happened to the fishing villages on the east coast of scotland, or the impact of dredging on the west coast of scotland. Of course, the control of factory fishing is not within our power as divers ( though I try to not eat fish I know to be endangered). But we do have control over our own activities and I think we ought to avoid  adding to the damage ourselves - which may perhaps be a case of having the information to know what can safely be taken or not. Personally though, if I see a fine fat lobby I'd rather leave it for other divers to admire. Its taken years to get to that size whereas it will only last me one meal.
 

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I would also like to see scallop dredgers banned as I have seen firsthand too often just how much damage they do. however stopping lifting food from the seabed only adds to the market driving these monsters.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Finless @ Oct. 16 2003,11:12)]With ref to the dog fish I did say I was going to return it BUT don't forget dog fish is otherwise known as rock salmon and is, apparently, delicious to eat.
Rock Salmon is a name used for a few species of coarse fish used for food. It includes, as you say, Dogfish but also Wolf fish, Monk fish and a few others I can't remember off-hand.

Peter
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Rupert Bear @ Oct. 16 2003,13:23)]I would also like to see scallop dredgers banned as I have seen firsthand too often just how much damage they do. however stopping lifting food from the seabed only adds to the market driving these monsters.
not sure about the logic here, unless its that if you dont pick the scallops yourself you'll just be buying them from the fishshop. But surely this is a good case of where if industrial strength dredging is wrecking the scallop beds, recreational divers should not then denude less severely dredged areas that may be providing the basis for the shellfish populations to breed and recover.

Or are you saying that you pick them by hand for commercial sale (I notice your avatar has a very well stuffed goodie bag fnar fnar) which is of course a  different argument.
 

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<font color='#000F22'>I have a wish to keep all my fingers so don't go too near large losters, always been very well behaved in marine reserves, eg Abbs and off pembrokeshire but off the west coast of scotland I'll take some scallops for my tea. I do get wound up by other divers in the club who grab scallops just because they can then don't eat them and leave them to die, definately not on (there was a secret scallop liberation front organised on islay this year.....:cool: )
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mary @ Oct. 16 2003,16:11)]I have a wish to keep all my fingers so don't go too near large losters, always been very well behaved in marine reserves, eg Abbs and off pembrokeshire but off the west coast of scotland I'll take some scallops for my tea. I do get wound up by other divers in the club who grab scallops just because they can then don't eat them and leave them to die, definately not on (there was a secret scallop liberation front organised on islay this year.....:cool: )
That's very nice of you Mary. You won't take anything from anywhere else but you have no problem coming here and "MURDERING" all of our wildlife. I think you've just earned a lifetime ban from the West coast. Please E-Mail me your 'photo and i'll get it put behind every dive shop counter, behind every bar and just generaly put everywhere warning of this evil woman who doesn't care for "our" enviroment.

Peter
[email protected]
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Peter,

you disapoint me, it say's file not found! and i was looking foward to reading about details of myself as the "evil woman". Just ashame that scarlet isn't really my colour.


what I was trying to say was I'll grab a little something for supper if I'm not in a marine reservation, as for local fauna and flora where I live I'm not averse to shooting a few pheasants for the pot either
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Oct. 16 2003,11:40)]Incidentally, John Gulliver or Anders may respond with the Swedish view on this, which I find very much to my liking

Steve
The Swedish situation is that it's illegal to take any crustaceans on scuba. It's also illegal to use any equipment (including a knife) to catch fish on scuba – you are allowed to catch fish with your hands (if you can) however. The penalty, if you're caught breaking this law, is that your diving equipment and the boat will be impounded and you'll be heavily fined. Naturally, very few people risk it.
In Norway, however, you ARE allowed to take crustaceans, apart from lobsters, and you ARE allowed to use a knife to catch fish.
On the whole, I support the present laws in Sweden, because there aren't that many lobsters any more and the inshore fish stocks are badly depleted. There are plenty of crabs, though, and there is talk of permitting us to take crabs (1 per diver per day). I cannot see that that would be wrong, provided divers could be relied upon to stick to the limit. Most marine biologists, including those working for the Fisheries Department, seem to take the same view, i.e that there is no logical reason to prohibit divers from taking a few crabs.
I admit to having taken flatfish in Norway and scallops at Islay – they are extremely plentiful in areas that the dredgers can't get at and my conscience is clear on that issue.
As regards wrecks, I think it is extremely selfish to take artefacts and display them privately on your mantlepiece for your friends and relatives. If your local museum can conserve them and display them, then that's where they should be. If they can't, they should be left where they are for other divers to enjoy until such time as a museum is able to take care of them, even if they are unlikely to ever be able to do so, in my opinion.
 
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