Discussion in 'Hawai'i' started by BSOD, Jun 4, 2012.
Compared to this I don't think what that guide was doing is all that bad...(although I do not agree with the rapid shaking that he does to it).
SPEARFISHERMAN KILLS MY OCTOPUS FRIEND!
What kills me about this is that I have been watching this particular octopus since mid January. He was in a really shallow spot that was very easy to notice if you have the trained eye. I saw it many many times, and sometimes it would be out on the prowl or sitting on the edge of the den, most of the time it would be tucked inside.
So, the spearfisherman was stoked. He commented that he had been out searching for "tako" for two hours only to find this one in 6 feet of water next to the entry/exit point! He had surely overlooked this location in his quest to get out into the sea to get the big catch. I told him it was my friend and I walked away before we got into something nasty.
So, I'm wondering if it's OK to kill them, then why is it not OK to be nice to them?
By the way, "Tako" is a highly consumed ,very popular food here in Hawaii.
Since learning to dive and "meeting" octopus and squid, I simply can't eat them anymore. They are amazing creatures that I admire and prefer to see in the ocean rather than on my plate.
Sad to say that dive instructors and DMs will pick up many forms of marine life to show their students even at the Casino Point Dive Park which is an official marine reserve now. What's even worse is that some divers still pull black urchins (Centrostephanus) out of their crevices, break them up and feed them to the waiting sheephead, garibaldi and kelp bass... a definite "no no" in a marine reserve ansd especially so when our abundant sheephead and lobster keep local urchin populations in check.
So is this legal or not?
There is much more than just the octopus handling that I find objectionable there--look at the people walking on the reef.
When I was on the island, I saw a DM do that with an octopus when I was diving with Big Island Divers. I stopped using them and did all my other diving that week with another operator. I mentioned it on Scuba Board. (And I just did it again.) I don't like it, and I figured other people who don't like it should know. If you like it, then you can go and seek out those kind of people. I will do the opposite.
When I was in Belize I saw a DM scare a puffer fish into puffing, which endangers that fish. I expressed my dissatisfaction strongly to the operator, which no longer exists.
On the Big Island we have consensual guidelines that most of the operators have signed off on that prohibit that sort of handling.
How long have these been in effect? I saw this sort of handling on the big island only a couple of years ago.
Understand that this is mostly background, and not necessarily what I think, but what talking with different people in the Hawaii Sovereignty movement talk about when it comes to Ocean use/exploitation, and mainlanders attitudes towards it.
It's important to note that the issue of ocean access and use is a highly charged issue in Hawaii, and ocean usage for whatever purposes is a largely protected right with a very few exceptions of specific threatened species. (Green Sea Turtles, and Boat Maneovers near whales come to mind, as do bugs(lobsters) out of season, or shot with slings.) The state subsidizes boat marinas. There are plenty of people living in houses with dirt floors who nonetheless own boats in Hawaii.
There is for instance no such thing as a private beach in Hawaii, and no matter how rich the neighborhood, they have to designate and maintain direct beach and ocean access and allow street parking for anyone who want to come use the ocean. Interestingly, in an effort to protect local heritage, we have actually made the ocean more accessible than it was to all but the elites in Old Hawaii.
1. So there is a very strong "Don't tell me what to do in the ocean" vibe as a background.
Since in the end, no amount of fish hassling will matter as much as population pressure on the land, Mainlander's reactions to this come across as kind of weird to many locals. It's like someone buying a new Prius and saying they are doing it to help the environment. Buying a new anything is bad for the environment. Take the bus. Ride a bike. Walk. Live nearer work. Don't buy a new car, and say that's helping the environment.
As we in Hawaii live on an island, we can see that the green movement in the US is window dressing on the world's leading per capita greenhouse producing nation, and that's with most of the manufacturing outsourced. (Islands have to import everything, and become colonial possessions if they export money to import fuel, so we see it a little clearer maybe.) And that consumption, and its massive toxic waste and pollution, does far more damage than a thousand fish hasslers could do, even if they did it 24 hours a day, and intentionally and wastefully.
A true environmentalist may say never, ever pick up trash, because then we will spend more time thinking about how we are creating so much stuff that we need a place to put things we are done using forever that we just made to put the things we wanted into for the trip home from the store. If we just stopped picking up trash, eventually we would realize that aing things whose only functions is to wrap the things we actually want.
While a shallow envronmentalist might schedule a beach cleanup to hide trash where the poor people live:
http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/blanca.html (which happens to be about nuclear waste, but they don't put dumps in Beverly Hills, even though that's where most of the trash comes from.)
2. So some Hawaii people are kind of skeptical about mainlanders who buy their food in a grocery store talking about the environment like it is something they actually deal with.
People shooting fish is about as environmental friendly a thing as can be. Yeah the American tourists don't like it, but we are not wasting thousands of sunlight days of energy transporting our food across the country. And there is a pretty much one-to-one shoot to eat ratio.
3. Since shooting fish is OK by most, merely hassling them to entertain visitors has to be OK.
(Peter Singer wants to talk to me, I know, and his objections are the only way to sensibly criticize fish hassling. But in a country that raises chicken in spaces just bigger than their bodies, it seems strange to complain about a few fish getting to live as fish until they die, or are bothered for a few minutes a day. When we have mechanized meat productions, and long line fisheries which throw out most of what they catch, direct interaction with one's food is the only humane choice.)
We voted them in on August 19th, 2009. That does not mean that everyone follows them, there is no force or law.
I was there and saw the octopus harassment two months before that.
Well Put Mr. BoulderJohn!
Off topic, but usually puffers aren't injured just by puffing up under normal circumstances. What's really dangerous is if you take the puffer out of the water the wrong way, it will try to puff but will swallow air instead of water. Often they can't spit out all the air and end up with a bubble in their stomach that can be very harmful - sometimes even fatal. They can also be injured if they're manhandled too much while inflated, so if a puffer inflates by accident it's importent to be gentle with it.
In fact, puffers in captivity will often inflate by themselves once in a while - apparently as a sort of exercise or "practice" if you can call it that. They do this in the wild too, but since it doesn't happen very often it's easier to observe this behavior in an aquarium.
However, it's still not nice to scare puffers into blowing up.
. . .
As for the octopus, it's probably OK to play with them to an extent - they're intelligent creatures and need a certain about of stimulation to stay happy. But, if the octopus is trying to escape and you have to grab it forcefully to restrain it, that's going too far.
The local attitude is that tako are a food source. As such, tako hassling is something that's frowned upon if it's done in a way that would harm the animal (ie it would take it away from somebody who wants to eat it later).
The thing about fishing vs hassling marine life on dive tours is that they're different sorts of impacts. Dive tours typically visit the same spot every day, often multiple times. If every DM hassled the marine life on every dive, the fish would leave or become skittish and the area would suffer as a dive spot. Meanwhile, fishermen will remove some marine life, but in most cases they don't visit their areas nearly as often so their cumulative impact is different.
I suppose guides, in order to please everyone, should just hang back and point at stuff. I've picked them up, shook them, bitten their heads and taken them home to eat. I must be a monster.
I am sure that it still goes on, hopefully at a greatly reduced level. The big advantage to the current standards is not that most of the guides read them, its that it gives one an easier less confrontational way open the conversation when something like that is observed, and failing the creation of a teachable moment, there is the fact that most all of the owners signed off on it.
i often find if you tell the guides on day 1 they wont get a tip if they molest the widlife works really well.
It won't please everyone, but it will please me.
If you do those things while you're the DM on my dive, then I'll be going with a different operator after that. I am sure you will make other people happy, though, so please yourself.
That is the traditional way to kill an octopus that you have caught and intend to take home for dinner. Perhaps not sufficiently PC for some, but that is how it is done.
And if you want to do that while you are hunting for your dinner, that's fine. I don't care. I don't want to watch you hunt for dinner while I am paying you to conduct a dive, though. In that case, you are working for me, and you should be doing the job I am paying you to do, not going off on a personal food search.
Shouldn't be doing it on scuba either.
I hear that here's a law up for a vote to ban commercial aquarium collection as well as spearfishing with scuba (actually, possession of speared fish, a speargun and scuba gear, all at the same time). The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs, Hawai`i Island: Jan 19, 2012
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