Gad Zooks

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by seahunt on November 03, 2002 at 23:45:32:

In Reply to: Re: Hunters posted by Steve on November 03, 2002 at 22:49:10:

>the gratification of its instincts will - on
>average - maximize its potential for
>reproduction. Whatever makes the animal 'happy'
>will also be reproductively adaptive.
GRATIFICATION! It's not about gratification or happiness for a fish. It's about survival in one of the most dynamic, challenging ecologies that exist. It's about food, shelter, a mate and not getting eaten before those other things. That's why fish ignore divers.
First you won't logically or factually support your views and then you resort to anthropomorphising the poor fish. Maximized reproductive potential is about lots of food. Crud. When divers are swimming through a kelp forest, aside from a few specific occasions like when a diver spears a fish, divers make fish neither happy or unhappy. They can create or destroy critical habitat though.
The Yukon does get anchors on it and they do some damage, but it is a case very different from a reserve. It's not comparable. I gave the Yukon as an example of where extreme diver pressure has not inhibited the healthy development of the reef. You're still harping on anchor damage, which is minimal on the Yukon, but far more than would be in a reserve. If you want to talk anchor damage, at least go over to the Ruby E where there are no moorings and lots of anchors, but wrecks are infinatly smaller and in places are more vulnerable than natural reefs.
Go to Bird rock that gets probably more anchors than any other spot out on Catalina. Check it out. It's remarkably lush and healthy.
Besides, every bang on the reef of the anchior, is a better chance for the skipper to lose the anchor.

>We could talk about the difference in reef
>quality from the front side of Catalina against
>an outer island reef.
Huh? What's the difference in terms of what this discussion is about. That is hunting. There is little difference in the hunting regulations between frontside Catalina and and the outer islands, except in terms of no commercial lobster take (and that is another telling story). Commercial pressure, the most important component of harvesting on a reef, is about the same at all the islands.
If you want to make a comparisson, make it between areas where hunting is currently allowed and the reserves where hunting is not currently allowed. The reserves where there are tons of divers (I already listed them - La Jolla, Point Lobos, Gerstle) are absolutly loaded with game. Read the reports on my site about these places.

>The unseen and hard to measure effects of diver
>disrupting the social structure of reefs will
>be harder to prove.
It's really way too late for that. The ecology is nothing like it was 20 years ago and that is not like it was 200 years ago. There is no natural ecology if there ever was one. The ecology has its constants, but overall, the dynamic elements of the reef ecology overwhelm most of its static features even when undisturbed by humans. Remember, not even the ocean level is constant. You should take a look at the massive yearly changes that disrupt the physical reef every year.
Measuring the current environment is not too hard anyway. There are well developed and long used methods for surveying reef biology and ecology. Even I am trained at these techniques. Reef biology studies can tell a great deal about the life of a reef. Combine that with an understanding of ecology and an observer can tell you the health of a reef ecology independent of fluctuations of particular populations. It is easy to see whether a reef is healthy or not and will be more of a constant than any kinetic population of the reef.
Look, give it up.
You have no facts or logic to back up your claims that site seeing divers would have a significant, let alone noticable negative effect on the reserves. This includes their anchors. Your few examples don't support your position.
Existing reserves that get extremely heavy diver pressure have abundant game.... and I do mean thick.
Popular diving anchorages, like Bird Rock or Eagles Reef show minimal anchor damage. I suspect this is partly due to the intentional care of the dive boat skippers. The reserves will never get the dive pressure that those two spots do. Go to the Isthmus High Spot to get some idea of what line fishers do to a reef.
The habits of fish are to ignore humans.
.... and there is good reason to let the divers visit the reserves.
Enjoy, seahunt

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