We're still getting to know the local dive spots in the area and accompanied a few local divers last weekend on a dive to explore one of the beautiful little coves down at Laguna Beach, CA. To my astonishment one of the divers came up to me with an outstretched hand holding out a beautiful Warty Sea Cucumber to show me. I ended up taking the creature and returned it to a nicely protected spot on the bottom, only to find the same guy prying off a sea urchin with his knife to feed to the fish a few minutes later. In this case we realise that the diver in question is a fairly newly certified student who is completing his AOW at the moment (which in some ways alarms me even more,) and also realise that the role models this guys has been presented with thus far in his diving career have not exactly been A Grade material so we feel that a little bit of retraining on a social level is necessary to get him to realize how his actions can severely contribute to the damage impact divers have on dive sites. Ignorence and indifference IMHO can be seen as one of the greatest dangers divers bring to the marine environment. What do you guys think about physically handling marine life? Are there justified circumstances in your opinion? When, why? What do you do when you notice someone disturb some critter on your dive? How many Instructors here teach their students to respect all creatures and keep their hands off? It's a phenomenon that I have noticed amongst divers in South Africa also so it's not just here in the US that this happens, I'm just curious to know what arguments other divers take in justifying the right to disturb or protect. Give 'em to me!